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Copyright, 1929, by 

Printed in the United States of America 






In the late summer of that year we lived in a house 
in a village that looked across the river and the plain to 
the mountains. In the bed of the river there were peb- 
bles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the 
water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the 
channels. Troops went by the house and down the road 
and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the 
trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the 
leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops march- 
ing along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred 
by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and 
afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves. 

The plain was rich with crops; there were many 
orchards of fruit trees and beyond the plain the moun- 
tains were brown and bare. There was fighting in the 
mountains and at night we could see the flashes from 
the artillery. In the dark it was like summer lightning, 
but the nights were cool and there was not the feeling 
of a storm coming. 

Sometimes in the dark we heard the troops marching 
under the window and guns going past pulled by motor- 
tractors. There was much traffic at night and many 
mules on the roads with boxes of ammunition on each 
side of their pack-saddles and gray motor-trucks that 
carried men, and other trucks with loads covered with 
canvas that moved slower in the traffic. There were big 
guns too that passed in the day drawn by tractors, the 
long barrels of the guns covered with green branches 
and green leafy branches and vines laid over the trac- 
tors. To the north we could look across a valley and see 



a forest of chestnut trees and behind it another moun- 
tain on this side of the river. There was fighting for 
that mountain too, but it was not successful, and in the 
fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the 
chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks 
black with rain. The vineyards were thin and bare- 
branched too and all the country wet and brown and 
dead with the autumn. There were mists over the river 
and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed 
mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet 
in their capes; their rifles were wet and under their 
capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of 
the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of 
clips of thin, long 6.5 mm. cartridges, bulged forward 
under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, 
marched as though they were six months gone with 

There were small gray motor-cars that passed going 
very fast ; usually there was an officer on the seat with 
the driver and more officers in the back seat. They 
splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of 
the officers in the back was very small and sitting be- 
tween two generals, he himself so small that you could 
not see his face but only the top of his cap and his nar- 
row back, and if the car went especially fast it was 
probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in 
this way nearly every day to see how things were going, 
and things went very badly. 

At the start of the winter came the permanent rain 
and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked 
and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the 


The next year there were many victories. The 
mountain that was beyond the valley and the hillside 
where the chestnut forest grew was captured and there 
were victories beyond the plain on the plateau to the 
south and we crossed the river in August and lived in a 
house in Gorizia that had a fountain and many thick 
shady trees in a walled garden and a wistaria vine 
purple on the side of the house. Now the fighting was 
in the next mountains beyond and was not a mile away. 
The town was very nice and our house was very fine. 
The river ran behind us and the town had been cap- 
tured very handsomely but the mountains beyond it 
could not be taken and I was very glad the Austrians 
seemed to want to come back to the town some time, if 
the war should end, because they did not bombard it to 
destroy it but only a little in a military way. People 
lived on in it and there were hospitals and cafes and 
artillery up side streets and two bawdy houses, one for 
troops and one for officers, and with the end of the 
summer, the cool nights, the fighting in the mountains 
beyond the town, the shell-marked iron of the railway 
bridge, the smashed tunnel by the river where the fight- 
ing had been, the trees around the square and the long 
avenue of trees that led to the square; these with there 
being girls in the town, the King passing in his motor 
car, sometimes now seeing his face and little long 
necked body and gray beard like a goat's chin tuft ; all 
these with the sudden interiors of houses that had lost a 
wall through shelling, with plaster and rubble in their 
gardens and sometimes in the street, and the whole thing 




going well on the Carso made the fall very different 
from the last fall when we had been in the country. 
The war was changed too. 

The forest of oak trees on the mountain beyond the 
town was gone. The forest had been green in the 
summer when we had come into the town but now there 
were the stumps and the broken trunks and the ground 
torn up, and one day at the end of the fall when I was 
out where the oak forest had been I saw a cloud com- 
ing over the mountain. It came very fast and the sun 
went a dull yellow and then everything was gray and 
the sky was covered and the cloud came on down the 
mountain and suddenly we were in it and it was snow. 
The snow slanted across the wind, the bare ground was 
covered, the stumps of trees projected, there was snow 
on the guns and there were paths in the snow going 
back to the latrines behind trenches. 

Later, below in the town, I watched the snow falling, 
looking out of the window of the bawdy house, the 
house for officers, where I sat with a friend and two 
glasses drinking a bottle of Asti, and, looking out at the 
snow falling slowly and heavily, we knew it was all 
over for that year. Up the river the mountains had not 
been taken ; none of the mountains beyond the river had 
been taken. That was all left for next year. My friend 
saw the priest from our mess going by in the street, 
walking carefully in the slush, and pounded on the win- 
dow to attract his attention. The priest looked up. He 
saw us and smiled. My friend motioned for him to 
come in. The priest shook his head and went on. That 
night in the mess after the spaghetti course, which 
every one ate very quickly and seriously, lifting the 
spaghetti on the fork until the loose strands hung clear 
then lowering it into the mouth, or else using a con- 


tinuous lift and sucking into the mouth, helping our- 
selves to wine from the grass-covered gallon flask; it 
swung in a metal cradle and you pulled the neck of the 
flask down with the forefinger and the wine, c]g ar red, 
tannic and lovely, poured out into the glass held with 
the same hand; after this course, the captain com- 
menced picking on the priest. 

The priest was young and blushed easily and wore a 
uniform like the rest of us but with a cross in dark 
red velvet above the left breast pocket of his gray 
tunic. The captain spoke pidgin Italian for my doubt- 
ful benefit, in order that I might understand perfectly, 
that nothing should be lost. 

"Priest to-day with girls," the captain said looking at 
the priest and at me. The priest smiled and blushed and 
shook his head. This captain baited him often. 

"Not true?" asked the captain. "To-day I see priest 
with girls." 

"No," said the priest. The other officers were 
amused at the baiting. 

"Priest not with girls," went on the captain. "Priest 
never with girls," he explained to me. He took my 
glass and filled it, looking at my eyes all the time, but 
not losing sight of the priest. 

"Priest every night five against one." Every one at 
the table laughed. "You understand ? Priest every night 
five against one." He made a gesture and laughed 
loudly. The priest accepted it as a joke. 

"The Pope wants the Austrians to win the war," the 
major said. "He loves Franz Joseph. That's where 
the money comes from. I am an atheist." 

"Did you ever read the 'Black Pig' ?" asked the lieu- 
tenant. "I will get you a copy. It was that which 
shook my faith." 


"It is a filthy and vile book/' said the priest. "You 
do not really like it" 

"It is very valuable/' said the lieutenant. "It tells you 
about those priests. You will like it," he said to me. I 
smiled at the priest and he smiled back across the candle- 
light. "Don't you read it," he said. 

"I will get it for you," said the lieutenant. 

"All thinking men are atheists/' the major said. "I 
do not believe in the Free Masons however." 

"I believe in the Free Masons," the lieutenant said. 
"It is a noble organization." Some one came in and 
as the door opened I could see the snow falling. 

"There will be no more offensive now that the snow 
has come," I said. 

"Certainly not," said the major. "You should go on 
leave. You should go to Rome, Naples, Sicily " 

"He should visit Amalfi," said the lieutenant "I 
will write you cards to my family in Amalfi. They will 
love you like a son." 

"He should go to Palermo." 

"He ought to go to Capri." 

"I would like you to see Abruzzi and visit my family 
at Capracotta," said the priest. 

"Listen to him talk about the Abruzzi. There's more 
snow there than here. He doesn't want to see peasants. 
Let him go to centres of culture and civilization." 

"He should have fine girls. I will give you the ad- 
dresses of places in Naples. Beautiful young girls — ac- 
companied by their mothers. Ha ! Ha ! Ha !" The cap- 
tain spread his hand open, the thumb up and fingers 
outspread as when you make shadow pictures. There 
was a shadow from his hand on the wall He spoke 
again in pidgin Italian. "You go away like this," he 


pointed to the thumb, "and come back like this," he 
touched the little finger. Every one laughed. 

"Look," said the captain. He spread the hand again. 
Again the candle-light made its shadows on the wall. 
He started with the upright thumb and named in their 
order the thumb and four fingers, "soto-tenente (the 
thumb), tenente (first finger), capitano (next finger), 
maggiore (next to the little finger), and tenente-colo- 
nello (the little finger). You go away soto-tenente! 
You come back soto-colonello !" They all laughed. The 
captain was having a great success with finger games. 
He looked at the priest and shouted, "Every night 
priest five against one !" They all laughed again. 

"You must go on leave at once," the major said. 

"I would like to go with you and show you things," 
the lieutenant said. 

"When you come back bring a phonograph." 

"Bring good opera disks." 

"Bring Caruso." 

"Don't bring Caruso. He bellows." 

"Don't you wish you could bellow like him?" 

"He bellows. I say he bellows !" 

"I would like you to go to Abruzzi," the priest said. 
The others were shouting. "There is good hunting. 
You would like the people and though it is cold it is 
clear and dry. You could stay with my family. My 
father is a famous hunter." 

"Come on," said the captain. "We go whorehouse be- 
fore it shuts." 

"Good night," I said to the priest. 

"Good night," he said. 


When I came back to the front we still lived in that 
town. There were many more guns in the country 
around and the spring had come. The fields were green 
and there were small green shoots on the vines, the trees 
along the road had small leaves and a breeze came from 
the sea. I saw the town with the hill and the old castle 
above it in a cup in the hills with the mountains beyond, 
brown mountains with a little green on their slopes. In 
the town there were more guns, there were some new 
hospitals, you met British men and sometimes women, 
on the street, and a few more houses had been hit by 
shell fire. It was warm and like the spring and I 
walked down the alleyway of trees, warmed from the 
sun on the wall, and found we still lived in the same 
house and that it all looked the same as when I had left 
it. The door was open, there was a soldier sitting on a 
bench outside in the sun, an ambulance was waiting by 
the side door and inside the door, as I went in, there 
was the smell of marble floors and hospital. It was all 
as I had left it except that now it was spring. I looked 
in the door of the big room and saw the major sitting 
at his desk, the window open and the sunlight coming 
into the room. He did not see me and I did not know 
whether to go in and report or go upstairs first and 
clean up. I decided to go on upstairs. 

The room I shared with the lieutenant Rinaldi looked 
out on the courtyard. The window was open, my bed 
was made up with blankets and my things hung on the 
wall, the gas mask in an oblong tin can, the steel helmet 
on the same peg. At the foot of the bed was my flat 



trunk, and my winter boots, the leather shiny with oil, 
were on the trunk. My Austrian sniper's rifle with its 
blued octagon barrel and the lovely dark walnut, cheek- 
fitted, schutzen stock, hung over the two beds. The 
telescope that fitted it was, I remembered, locked in the 
trunk. The lieutenant, Rinaldi, lay asleep on the other 
bed. He woke when he heard me in the room and sat 

"Ciaou!" he said. "What kind of time did you 


We shook hands and he put his arm around my neck 
and kissed me. 

"Oughf," I said. 

"You're dirty," he said. "You ought to wash. 
Where did you go and what did you do ? Tell me every- 
thing at once." 

"I went everywhere. Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, 
Villa San Giovanni, Messina, Taormina " 

"You talk like a time-table. Did you have any beau- 
tiful adventures?" 



"Milano, Firenze, Roma, Napoli " 

"That's enough. Tell me really what was the best." 

"In Milano." 

"That was because it was first. Where did you meet 
her ? In the Cova ? Where did you go ? How did you 
feel? Tell me everything at once. Did you stay all 


"That's nothing. Here now we have beautiful girls. 
New girls never been to the front before." 



"You don't believe me? We will go now this after- 
noon and see. And in the town we have beautiful 
English girls. I am now in love with Miss Barkley. 
I will take you to call. I will probably marry Miss 

"I have to get washed and report. Doesn't anybody 
work now?" 

"Since you are gone we have nothing but frostbites, 
chilblains, jaundice, gonorrhea, self-inflicted wounds, 
pneumonia and hard and soft chancres. Every week 
some one gets wounded by rock fragments. There are 
a few real wounded. Next week the war starts again. 
Perhaps it starts again. They say so. Do you think I 
would do right to marry Miss Barkley — after the war 
of course?" 

"Absolutely," I said and poured the basin full of 

"To-night you will tell me everything," said Rinaldi. 
"Now I must go back to sleep to be fresh and beautiful 
for Miss Barkley." 

I took off my tunic and shirt and washed in the cold 
water in the basin. While I rubbed myself with a towel 
I looked around the room and out the window and at 
Rinaldi lying with his eyes closed on the bed. He was 
good-looking, was my age, and he came from Amalfi. 
He loved being a surgeon and we were great friends. 
While I was looking at him he opened his eyes. 

"Have you any money?" 


"Loan me fifty lire." 

I dried my hands and took out my pocket-book from 
the inside of my tunic hanging on the wall. Rinaldi 
took the note, folded it without rising from the bed and 
slid it in his breeches pocket. He smiled, "I must make 


on Miss Barkley the impression of a man of sufficient 
wealth. You are my great and good friend and finan- 
cial protector." 

"Go to hell," I said. 

That night at the mess I sat next to the priest and he 
was disappointed and suddenly hurt that I had not gone 
to the Abruzzi. He had written to his father that I was 
coming and they had made preparations. I myself felt 
as badly as he did and could not understand why I had 
not gone. It was what I had wanted to do and I tried 
to explain how one thing had led to another and finally 
he saw it and understood that I had really wanted to go 
and it was almost all right. I had drunk much wine 
and afterward coffee and Strega and I explained, wine- 
fully, how we did not do the things we wanted to do ; 
we never did such things. 

We two were talking while the others argued. I had 
wanted to go to Abruzzi. I had gone to no place where 
the roads were frozen and hard as iron, where it was 
clear cold and dry and the snow was dry and powdery 
and hare-tracks in the snow and the peasants took off 
their hats and called you Lord and there was good hunt- 
ing. I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of 
cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed 
to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, 
when you knew that that was all there was, and the 
strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it 
was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and 
so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and 
not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all 
and all and not caring. Suddenly to care very much 
and to sleep to wake with it sometimes morning and all 
that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard 
and clear and sometimes a dispute about the cost. 


Sometimes still pleasant and fond and warm and break- 
fast and lunch. Sometimes all niceness gone and glad 
to get out on the street but always another day starting 
and then another night. I tried to tell about the night 
and the difference between the night and the day and 
how the night was better unless the day was very clean 
and cold and I could not tell it ; as I cannot tell it now. 
But if you have had it you know. He had not had it 
but he understood that I had really wanted to go to the 
Abruzzi but had not gone and we were still friends, 
with many tastes alike, but with the difference between 
us. He had always known what I did not know and 
what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. 
But I did not know that then, although I learned it later. 
In the meantime we were all at the mess, the meal was 
finished, and the argument went on. We two stopped 
talking and the captain shouted, "Priest not happy. 
Priest not happy without girls." 

"I am happy," said the priest. 

"Priest not happy. Priest wants Austrians to win 
the war," the captain said. The others listened. The 
priest shook his head. 

"No," he said. 

"Priest wants us never to attack. Don't you want us 
never to attack?" 

"No. If there is a war I suppose we must attack." 

"Must attack. Shall attack !" 

The priest nodded. 

"Leave him alone," the major said. "He's all right." 

"He can't do anything about it anyway," the captain 
said. We all got up and left the table. 


The battery in the next garden woke me in the 
morning and I saw the sun coming through the window 
and got out of the bed. I went to the window and 
looked out. The gravel paths were moist and the grass 
was wet with dew. The battery fired twice and the 
air came each time like a blow and shook the window 
and made the front of my pajamas flap. I could not see 
the guns but they were evidently firing directly over us. 
It was a nuisance to have them there but it was a com- 
fort that they were no bigger. As I looked out at the 
garden I heard a motor truck starting on the road. I 
dressed, went downstairs, had some coffee in the kitchen 
and went out to the garage. 

Ten cars were lined up side by side under the long 
shed. They were top-heavy, blunt-nosed ambulances, 
painted gray and built like moving-vans. The mechan- 
ics were working on one out in the yard. Three others 
were up in the mountains at dressing-stations. 

"Do they ever shell that battery?" I asked one of the 

"No, Signor Tenente. It is protected by the little 

"How's everything?" 

"Not so bad. This machine is no good but the others 
march." He stopped working and smiled. "Were you 
on permission?" 


He wiped his hands on his jumper and grinned. 
"You have a good time?" The others all grinned too. 



"Fine/ 1 I said. "What's the matter with this ma- 
chine ?" 

"It's no good. One thing after another." 

"What's the matter now?" 

"New rings." 

I left them working, the car looking disgraced and 
empty with the engine open and parts spread on the 
work bench, and went in under the shed and looked at 
each of the cars. They were moderately clean, a few 
freshly washed, the others dusty. I looked at the tires 
carefully, looking for cuts or stone bruises. Every- 
thing seemed in good condition. It evidently made no 
difference whether I was there to look after things or 
not. I had imagined that the condition of the cars, 
whether or not things were obtainable, the smooth func- 
tioning of the business of removing wounded and sick 
from the dressing stations, hauling them back from the 
mountains to the clearing station and then distributing 
them to the hospitals named on their papers, depended 
to a considerable extent on myself. Evidently it did 
not matter whether I was there or not. 

"Has there been any trouble getting parts?" I asked 
the sergeant mechanic. 

"No, Signor Tenente." 

"Where is the gasoKne park now?" 

"At the same place." 

"Good," I said and went back to the house and 
drank another bowl of coffee at the mess table. The 
coffee was a pale gray and sweet with condensed milk. 
Outside the window it was a lovely spring morning. 
There was that beginning of a feeling of dryness in the 
nose that meant the day would be hot later on. That 
day I visited the posts in the mountains and was back 
in town late in the afternoon. 


The whole thing seemed to run better while I was 
away. The offensive was going to start again I heard. 
The division for which we worked were to attack at a 
place up the river and the major told me that I would see 
about the posts for during the attack. The attack would 
cross the river up above the narrow gorge and spread 
up the hillside. The posts for the cars would have to 
be as near the river as they could get and keep covered. 
They would, of course, be selected by the infantry but 
we were supposed to work it out. It was one of those 
things that gave you a false feeling of soldiering. 

I was very dusty and dirty and went up to my room 
to wash. Rinaldi was sitting on the bed with a copy 
of Hugo's English grammar. He was dressed, wore 
his black boots, and his hair shone. 

"Splendid," he said when he saw me. "You will 
come with me to see Miss Barkley." 


"Yes. You will please come and make me a good im- 
pression on her." 

"All right. Wait till I get cleaned up." 

"Wash up and come as you are." 

I washed, brushed my hair and we started. 

"Wait a minute," Rinaldi said. "Perhaps we should 
have a drink." He opened his trunk and took out a 

"Not Strega," I said. 

"No. Grappa." 

"All right." 

He poured two glasses and we touched them, first 
fingers extended. The grappa was very strong. 


"All right," I said. We drank the second grappa, 
Rinaldi put away the bottle and we went down the 


stairs. It was hot walking through the town but the sun 
was starting to go down and it was very pleasant. The 
British hospital was a big villa built by Germans before 
the war. Miss Barkley was in the garden. Another 
nurse was with her. We saw their white uniforms 
through the trees and walked toward them. Rinaldi 
saluted. I saluted too but more moderately. 

"How do you do?" Miss Barkley said. " You' re not 
an Italian, are you ?" 

"Oh, no." 

Rinaldi was talking with the other nurse. They were 

"What an odd thing — to be in the Italian army." 

"It's not really the army. It's only the ambulance." 

"It's very odd though. Why did you do it?" 

"I don't know," I said. "There isn't always an ex- 
planation for everything." 

"Oh, isn't there? I was brought up to think there 

"That's awfully nice." 

"Do we have to go on and talk this way?" 

"No," I said. 

"That's a relief. Isn't it?" 

"What is the stick?" I asked. Miss Barkley was 
quite tall. She wore what seemed to me to be a nurse's 
uniform, was blonde and had a tawny skin and gray 
eyes. I thought she was very beautiful. She was carry- 
ing a thin rattan stick like a toy riding-crop, bound in 

"It belonged to a boy who was killed last year." 

"I'm awfully sorry." 

"He was a very nice boy. He was going to marry 
me and he was killed in the Somme." 

"It was a ghastly show." 


"Were you there ?" 

"No." * 

"I've heard about it," she said. "There's not really 
any war of that sort down here. They sent me the little 
stick. His mother sent it to me. They returned it with 
his things." 

"Had you been engaged long?" 

"Eight years. We grew up together." 

"And why didn't you marry?" 

"I don't know," she said. "I was a fool not to. I 
could have given him that anyway. But I thought it 
would be bad for him." 
1 see. 

"Have you ever loved any one?" 

"No," I said 

We sat down on a bench and I looked at her. 

"You have beautiful hair," I said. 

"Do you like it?" 

"Very much." 

"I was going to cut it all off when he died." 


"I wanted to do something for him. You see I 
didn't care about the other thing and he could have had 
it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I 
would have known. I would have married him or any- 
thing. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to 
go to war and I didn't know." 

I did not say anything. 

"I didn't know about anything then. I thought it 
would be worse for him. I thought perhaps he couldn't 
stand it and then of course he was killed and that was 
the end of it." 

"I don't know." 

"Oh, yes," she said. "That's the end of it." 


We looked at Rinaldi talking with the other nurse. 

"What is her name?" 

"Ferguson. Helen Ferguson. Your friend is a doc- 
tor, isn't he?" 

"Yes. He's very good." 

"That's splendid You rarely find any one any good 
this close to the front. This is close to the front, isn't 


"It's a silly front," she said. "But it's very beauti- 
ful. Are they going to have an offensive?" 


"Then we'll have to work. There's no work now." 

"Have you done nursing long?" 

"Since the end of 'fifteen. I started when he did. I 
remember having a silly idea he might come to the 
hospital where I was. With a sabre cut, I suppose, and a 
bandage around his head. Or shot through the shoul- 
der. Something picturesque." 

"This is the picturesque front," I said. 

"Yes," she said. "People can't realize what France is 
like. If they did, it couldn't all go on. He didn't have 
a sabre cut. They blew him all to bits." 

I didn't say anything. 

"Do you suppose it will always go on?" 


"What's to stop it?" 

"It will crack somewhere." 

"We'll crack. We'll crack in France. They can't go 
on doing things like the Somme and not crack." 

"They won't crack here," I said. 

"You think not?" 

"No. They did very well last summer." 

"They may crack," she said. "Anybody may crack." 


"The Germans too." 

"No," she said. "I think not." 

We went over toward Rinaldi and Miss Ferguson. 

"You love Italy?" Rinaldi asked Miss Ferguson in 

"Quite well." 

"No understand," Rinaldi shook his head. 

"Abbastanza bene," I translated. He shook his head. 

"That is not good. You love England?" 

"Not too well. I'm Scotch, you see." 

Rinaldi looked at me blankly. 

"She's Scotch, so she loves Scotland better than Eng- 
land," I said in Italian. 

"But Scotland is England." 

I translated this for Miss Ferguson. 

"Pas encore," said Miss Ferguson. 

"Not really?" 

"Never. We do not like the English." 

"Not like the English? Not like Miss Barkley?" 

"Oh, that's different. You mustn't take everything 
so literally." 

After a while we said good-night and left. Walking 
home Rinaldi said, "Miss Barkley prefers you to me. 
That is very clear. But the little Scotch one is very 

"Very," I said. I had not noticed her. "You like 

"No," said Rinaldi. 


The next afternoon I went to call on Miss Barkley 
again. She was not in the garden and I went to the 
side door of the villa where the ambulances drove up. 
Inside I saw the head nurse, who said Miss Barkley was 
on duty — "there's a war on, you know." 

I said I knew. 

"You're the American in the Italian army?" she 

"Yes, ma'am." 

"How did you happen to do that? Why didn't you 
join up with us ?" 

"I don't know," I said. "Could I join now?" 

"I'm afraid not now. Tell me. Why did you join up 
with the Italians?" 

"I was in Italy," I said, "and I spoke Italian." 

"Oh," she said. "I'm learning it It's a beautiful 

"Somebody said you should be able to learn it in two 

"Oh, I'll not learn it in two weeks. I've studied it for 
months now. You may come and see her after seven 
o'clock if you wish. She'll be off then. But don't 
bring a lot of Italians." 

"Not even for the beautiful language?" 

"No. Nor for the beautiful uniforms." 

"Good evening," I said. 

"A rivederci, Tenente." 

"A rivederla." I saluted and went out. It was im- 
possible to salute foreigners as an Italian, without em- 


barrassment The Italian salute never seemed made for 

The day had been hot. I had been up the river to the 
bridgehead at Plava. It was there that the offensive 
was to begin. It had been impossible to advance on the 
far side the year before because there was only one road 
leading down from the pass to the pontoon bridge and it 
was under machine-gun and shell fire for nearly a mile. 
It was not wide enough either to carry all the trans- 
port for an offensive and the Austrians could make a 
shambles out of it. But the Italians had crossed and 
spread out a little way on the far side to hold about a 
mile and a half on the Austrian side of the river. It 
was a nasty place and the Austrians should not have let 
them hold it. I suppose it was mutual tolerance because 
the Austrians still kept a bridgehead further down the 
river. The Austrian trenches were above on the hillside 
only a few yards from the Italian lines. There had been 
a little town but it was all rubble. There was what was 
left of a railway station and a smashed permanent 
bridge that could not be repaired and used because it 
was in plain sight. 

I went along the narrow road down toward the river, 
left the car at the dressing station under the hill, 
crossed the pontoon bridge, which was protected by 
a shoulder of the mountain, and went through the 
trenches in the smashed-down town and along the edge 
of the slope. Everybody was in the dugouts. There 
were racks of rockets standing to be touched oflf to call 
for help from the artillery or to signal with if the tele- 
phone "wires were cut. It was quiet, hot and dirty. I 
looked across the wire at the Austrian lines. Nobody 
was in sight. I had a drink with a captain that I knew 
in one of the dugouts and went back across the bridge. 


A new wide road was being finished that would go 
over the mountain and zig-zag down to the bridge. 
When this road was finished the offensive would start. 
It came down through the forest in sharp turns. The 
system was to bring everything down the new road and 
take the empty trucks, carts and loaded ambulances and 
all returning traffic up the old narrow road. The dress- 
ing station was on the Austrian side of the river under 
the edge of the hill and stretcher-bearers would bring 
the wounded back across the pontoon bridge. It would 
be the same when the offensive started. As far as I 
could make out the last mile or so of the new road 
where it started to level out would be able to be shelled 
steadily by the Austrians. It looked as though it might 
be a mess. But I found a place where the cars would 
be sheltered after they had passed that last bad-looking 
bit and could wait for the wounded to be brought across 
the pontoon bridge. I would have liked to drive over 
the new road but it was not yet finished. It looked wide 
and well made with a good grade and the turns looked 
very impressive where you could see them through 
openings in the forest on the mountain side. The cars 
would be all right with their good metal-to-metal 
brakes and anyway, coming down, they would not be 
loaded. I drove back up the narrow road. 

Two carabinieri held the car up. A shell had fallen 
and while we waited three others fell up the road. They 
were seventy-sevens and came with a whishing rush 
of air, a hard bright burst and flash and then gray smoke 
that blew across the road. The carabinieri waved us to 
go on. Passing where the shells had landed I avoided 
the small broken places and smelled the high explosive 
and the smell of blasted clay and stone and freshly 
shattered flint. I drove back to Gorizia and our villa 


and, as I said, went to call on Miss Barkley, who was on 

At dinner I ate very quickly and left for the villa 
where the British had their hospital. It was really very 
large and beautiful and there were fine trees in the 
grounds. Miss Barkley was sitting on a bench in the 
garden. Miss Ferguson was with her. They seemed 
glad to see me and in a little while Miss Ferguson 
excused herself and went away. 

"I'll leave you two," she said. "You get along very 
well without me." 

"Don't go, Helen," Miss Barkley said. 

*Td really rather. I must write some letters." 

"Good-night," I said. 

"Good-night, Mr. Henry." 

"Don't write anything that will bother the censor." 

"Don't worry. I only write about what a beautiful 
place we live in and how brave the Italians are." 

"That way you'll be decorated." 

"That will be nice. Good-night, Catherine." 

"I'll see you in a little while," Miss Barkley said. 
Miss Ferguson walked away in the dark. 

"She's nice," I said. 

"Oh, yes, she's very nice. She's a nurse." 

"Aren't you a nurse?" 

"Oh, no. I'm something called a V. A. D. We work 
very hard but no one trusts us." 

"Why not?" 

"They don't trust us when there's nothing going 
on. When there is really work they trust us." 

"What is the difference?" 

"A nurse is like a doctor. It takes a long time to 
be. A V. A. D. is a short cut." 

"I see." 


"The Italians didn't want women so near the front. 
So we're all on very special behavior. We don't go 

"I can come here though." 

"Oh, yes. We're not cloistered." 

"Let's drop the war." 

"It's very hard. There's no place to drop it." 

"Let's drop it anyway." 

"All right." 

We looked at each other in the dark. I thought she 
was very beautiful and I took her hand. She let me 
take it and I held it and put my arm around under her 

"No," she said. I kept my arm where it was. 

"Why not?" 


"Yes," I said. "Please." I leaned forward in the 
dark to kiss her and there was a sharp stinging flash. 
She had slapped my face hard. Her hand had hit my 
nose and eyes, and tears came in my eyes from the 

"I'm so sorry," she said. I felt I had a certain ad- 

"You were quite right." 

"I'm dreadfully sorry," she said. "I just couldn't 
stand the nurse' s-evening-off aspect of it. I didn't mean 
to hurt you. I did hurt you, didn't I ?" 

She was looking at me in the dark. I was angry and 
yet certain, seeing it all ahead like the moves in a chess 

"You did exactly right," I said. "I don't mind at 

"Poor man." 

"You see I've been leading a sort of a funny life. 


And I never even talk English. And then you are so 
very beautiful/' I looked at her. 

"You don't need to say a lot of nonsense. I said I 
was sorry. We do get along." 

"Yes/' I said. "And we have gotten away from the 

She laughed. It was the first time I had ever heard 
her laugh. I watched her face. 

"You are sweet," she said. 

"No, I'm not." 

"Yes. You are a dear. I'd be glad to kiss you if 
you don't mind." 

I looked in her eyes and put my arm around her as I 
had before and kissed her. I kissed her hard and held 
her tight and tried to open her lips; they were closed 
tight. I was still angry and as I held her suddenly she 
shivered. I held her close against me and could fed 
her heart beating and her lips opened and her head 
went back against my hand and then she was crying 
on my shoulder. 

"Oh, darling," she said. "You will be good to me, 
won't you?" 

What the hell, I thought. I stroked her hair and 
patted her shoulder. She was crying. 

"You will, won't you?" She looked up at me. "Be- 
cause we're going to have a strange life." 

After a while I walked with her to the door of the 
villa and she went in and I walked home. Back at the 
villa I went upstairs to the room. Rinaldi was lying 
on his bed. He looked at me. 

"So you make progress with Miss Barkley?" 

"We are friends." 

"You have that pleasant air of a dog in heat." 

I did not understand the word. 


"Of a what?" 

He explained. 

"You," I said, "have that pleasant air of a dog 

"Stop it," he said. "In a little while we would say 
insulting things." He laughed. 

"Good-night," I said. 

"Good-night, little puppy." 

I knocked over his candle with the pillow and got 
into bed in the dark. 

Rinaldi picked up the candle, lit it and went on 


I was away for two days at the posts. When I got 
home it was too late and I did not see Miss Barkley 
until the next evening. She was not in the garden and 
I had to wait in the office of the hospital until she came 
down. There were many marble busts on painted 
wooden pillars along the walls of the room they used 
for an office. The hall too, that the office opened on, 
was lined with them. They had the complete marble 
quality of all looking alike. Sculpture had always 
seemed a dull business — still, bronzes looked like some- 
thing. But marble busts all looked like a cemetery. 
There was one fine cemetery though — the one at Pisa. 
Genoa was the place to see the bad marbles. This had 
been the villa of a very wealthy German and the busts 
must have cost him plenty. I wondered who had done 
them and how much he got. I tried to make out 
whether they were members of the family or what; but 
they were all uniformly classical. You could not tell 
anything about them. 

I sat on a chair and held my cap. We were supposed 
to wear steel helmets even in Gorizia but they were un- 
comfortable and too bloody theatrical in a town where 
the civilian inhabitants had not been evacuated. I wore 
one when we went up to the posts and carried an Eng- 
lish gas mask. We were just beginning to get some of 
them. They were a real mask. Also we were required 
to wear an automatic pistol ; even doctors and sanitary 
officers. I felt it against the back of the chair. You 


were liable to arrest if you did not have one worn in 
plain sight. Rinaldi carried a holster stuffed with toilet 
paper. I wore a real one and felt like a gunman until 
I practised firing it. It was an Astra 7.65 caliber with 
a short barrel and it jumped so sharply when you let it 
off that there was no question of hitting anything. I 
practised with it, holding below the target and trying to 
master the jerk of the ridiculous short barrel until I 
could hit within a yard of where I aimed at twenty 
paces and then the ridiculousness of carrying a pistol 
at all came over me and I soon forgot it and carried it 
flopping against the small of my back with no feeling at 
all except a vague sort of shame when I met English- 
speaking people. I sat now in the chair and an orderly 
of some sort looked at me disapprovingly from behind 
a desk while I looked at the marble floor, the pillars 
with the marble busts, and the frescoes on the wall 
and waited for Miss Barkley. The frescoes were not 
bad. Any frescoes were good when they started to peel 
and flake off. 

I saw Catherine Barkley coming down the hall, and 
stood up. She did not seem tall walking toward me but 
she looked very lovely. 

"Good-evening, Mr. Henry," she said. 

"How do you do?" I said. The orderly was listening 
behind the desk. 

"Shall we sit here or go out in the garden?" 

"Let's go out. It's much cooler." 

I walked behind her out into the garden, the orderly 
looking after us. When we were out on the gravel drive 
she said, "Where have you been?" 

"I've been out on post." 

"You couldn't have sent me a note?" 


"No/* I said. "Not very well. I thought I was com- 
ing back." 

"You ought to have let me know, darling.' f 

We were off the driveway, walking under the trees. 
I took her hands, then stopped and kissed her. 

"Isn't there anywhere we can go?" 

"No," she said. "We have to just walk here. You've 
been away a long time." 

"This is the third day. But I'm back now." 

She looked at me, "And you do love me ?" 


"You did say you loved me, didn't you?" 

"Yes," I lied. "I love you." I had not said it 

"And you call me Catherine ?" 

"Catherine." We walked on a way and were stopped 
under a tree. 

"Say, T've come back to Catherine in the night.' " 

"I've come back to Catherine in the night." 

"Oh, darling, you have come back, haven't you?" 


"I love you so and it's been awful. You won't go 

"No. I'll always come back." 

"Oh, I love you so. Please put your hand there 

"It's not been away." I turned her so I could see her 
face when I kissed her and I saw that her eyes were 
shut. I kissed both her shut eyes. I thought she was 
probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. I 
did not care what I was getting into. This was better 
than going every evening to the house for officers where 
the girls climbed all over you and put your cap on back- 


ward as a sign of affection between their trips upstairs 
with brother officers. I knew I did not love Catherine 
Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a 
game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of 
playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you 
were playing for money or playing for some stakes. 
Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were. It was 
all right with me. 

"I wish there was some place we could go," I said. 
I was experiencing the masculine difficulty of making 
love very long standing up. 

"There isn't any place," she said. She came back 
from wherever she had been. 

"We might sit there just for a little while." 

We sat on the flat stone bench and I held Catherine 
Barkley's hand. She would not let me put my arm 
around her. 

"Are you very tired?" she asked. 


She looked down at the grass. 

"This is a rotten game we play, isn't it?" 

"What game?" 

"Don't be dull." 

"I'm not, on purpose." 

"You're a nice boy," she said. "And you play it as 
well as you know how. But it's a rotten game." 

"Do you always know what people think?" 

"Not always. But I do with you. You don't have to 
pretend you love me. That's over for the evening. Is 
there anything you'd like to talk about?" 

"But I do love you." 

"Please let's not lie when we don't have to. I had 
a very fine little show and I'm all right now. You see 


I'm not mad and I'm not gone off. It's only a little 

I pressed her hand, "Dear Catherine." 

"It sounds very funny now — Catherine. You don't 
pronounce it very much alike. But you're very nice. 
You're a very good boy." 

"That's what the priest said." 

"Yes, you're very good. And you will come and see 

"Of course." 

"And you don't have to say you love me. That's all 
over for a while." She stood up and put out her hand. 

I wanted to kiss her. 

"No," she said. "I'm awfully tired." 

"Kiss me, though," I said. 

"I'm awfully tired, darling." 

"Kiss me." 

"Do you want to very much?" 


We kissed and she broke away suddenly. "No. 
Good-night, please, darling." We walked to the door 
and I saw her go in and down the hall. I liked to watch 
her move. She went on down the hall. I went on 
home. It was a hot night and there was a good deal 
going on up in the mountains. I watched the flashes 
on San Gabriele. 

I stopped in front of the Villa Rossa. The shutters 
were up but it was still going on inside. Somebody was 
singing. I went on home. Rinaldi came in while I was 

"Ah, ha!" he said. "It does not go so well. Baby 
is puzzled." 

"Where have you been?" 


"At the Villa Rossa. It was very edifying, baby. 
We all sang. Where have you been?" 

"Calling on the British." 

"Thank God I did not become involved with the 


I came back the next afternoon from our first moun- 
tain post and stopped the car at the smistimento where 
the wounded and sick were sorted by their papers and 
the papers marked for the different hospitals. I had 
been driving and I sat in the car and the driver took the 
papers in. It was a hot day and the sky was very bright 
and blue and the road was white and dusty. I sat in the 
high seat of the Fiat and thought about nothing. A 
regiment went by in the road and I watched them pass. 
The men were hot and sweating. Some wore their steel 
helmets but most of them carried them slung from their 
packs. Most of the helmets were too big and came 
down almost over the ears of the men who wore them. 
The officers all wore helmets ; better-fitting helmets. It 
was half of the brigata Basilicata. I identified them by 
their red and white striped collar mark. There were 
stragglers going by long after the regiment had passed 
- — men who could not keep up with their platoons. They 
were sweaty, dusty and tired. Some looked pretty bad. 
A soldier came along after the last of the stragglers. 
He was walking with a limp. He stopped and sat down 
beside the road. I got down and went over. 

"What's the matter ?" 

He looked at me, then stood up. 

"I'm going on." 

"What's the trouble?" 

" the war." 

"What's wrong with your leg?" 

"It's not my leg. I got a rupture." 



"Why don't you ride with the transport ?" I asked. 
"Why don't you go to the hospital?" 

"They won't let me. The lieutenant said I slipped the 
truss on purpose." 

"Let me feel it." 

"It's way out." 

"Which side is it on?" 


I felt it. 

"Cough," I said. 

"I'm afraid it will make it bigger. It's twice as big 
as it was this morning." 

"Sit down," I said. "As soon as I get the papers on 
these wounded I'll take you along the road and drop 
you with your medical officers." 

"He'll say I did it on purpose." 

"They can't do anything," I said. "It's not a wound. 
You've had it before, haven't you?" 

"But I lost the truss." 

"They'll send you to a hospital." 

"Can't I stay here, Tenente?" 

"No, I haven't any papers for you." 

The driver came out of the door with the papers for 
the wounded in the car. 

"Four for 105. Two for 132," he said. They were 
hospitals beyond the river. 

"You drive," I said. I helped the soldier with the 
rupture up on the seat with us. 

"You speak English?" he asked. 


"How you like this goddam war?" 


"I say it's rotten. Jesus Christ, I say it's rotten." 

"Were you in the States?" 


"Sure. In Pittsburg. I knew you was an Ameri- 

"Don't I talk Italian good enough?" 

"I knew you was an American all right." 

"Another American," said the driver in Italian look- 
ing at the hernia man. 

"Listen, lootenant. Do you have to take me to that 


"Because the captain doctor knew I had this rupture. 
I threw away the goddam truss so it would get bad and 
I wouldn't have to go to the line again." 
I see. 

"Couldn't you take me no place else?" 

"If it was closer to the front I could take you to a 
first medical post. But back here you've got to have 

"If I go back they'll make me get operated on and 
then they'll put me in the line all the time." 

I thought it over. 

"You wouldn't want to go in the line all the time, 
would you?" he asked. 


"Jesus Christ, ain't this a goddam war?" 

"Listen," I said. "You get out and fall down by the 
road and get a bump on your head and I'll pick you up 
on our way back and take you to a hospital. We'll stop 
by the road here, Aldo." We stopped at the side of the 
road. I helped him down. 

"I'll be right here, lieutenant," he said. 

"So long," I said. We went on and passed the regi- 
ment about a mile ahead, then crossed the river, cloudy 
with snow-water and running fast through the spiles 
of the bridge, to ride along the road across the plain 


and deliver the wounded at the two hospitals. I drove 
coming back and went fast with the empty car to find 
the man from Pittsburg. First we passed the regiment, 
hotter and slower than ever : then the stragglers. Then 
we saw a horse ambulance stopped by the road. Two 
men were lifting the hernia man to put him in. They 
had come back for him. He shook his head at me. His 
helmet was off and his forehead was bleeding below the 
hair line. His nose was skinned and there was dust on 
the bloody patch and dust in his hair. 

"Look at the bump, lieutenant !" he shouted. "Noth- 
ing to do. They come back for me." 

When I got back to the villa it was five o'clock and I 
went out where we washed the cars, to take a shower. 
Then I made out my report in my room, sitting in my 
trousers and an undershirt in front of the open win- 
dow. In two days the offensive was to start and I 
would go with the cars to Plava. It was a long time 
since I had written to the States and I knew I should 
write but I had let it go so long that it was almost im- 
possible to write now. There was nothing to write 
about. I sent a couple of army Zona di Guerra post- 
cards, crossing out everything except, I am well. That 
should handle them. Those post-cards would be very 
fine in America; strange and mysterious. This was a 
strange and mysterious war zone but I supposed it was 
quite well run and grim compared to other wars with 
the Austrians. The Austrian army was created to give 
Napoleon victories ; any Napoleon. I wished we had a 
Napoleon, but instead we had II Generale Cadorna, 
fat and prosperous, and Vittorio Emmanuele, the tiny 
man with the long thin neck and the goat beard. Over 
on the right they had the Duke of Aosta. Maybe he 


was too good-looking to be a great general but he looked 
like a man. Lots of them would have liked him to be 
king. He looked like a king. He was the King's uncle 
and commanded the third army. We were in the second 
army. There were some British batteries up with the 
third army. I had met two gunners from that lot, in 
Milan. They were very nice and we had a big evening. 
They were big and shy and embarrassed and very ap- 
preciative together of anything that happened. I wish 
that I was with the British. It would have been much 
simpler. Still I would probably have been killed. Not 
in this ambulance business. Yes, even in the ambulance 
business. British ambulance drivers were killed some- 
times. Well, I knew I would not be killed. Not in this 
war. It did not have anything to do with me. It 
seemed no more dangerous to me myself than war 
in the movies. I wished to God it was over though. 
Maybe it would finish this summer. Maybe the Aus- 
trians would crack. They had always cracked in other 
wars. What was the matter with this war? Every- 
body said the French were through. Rinaldi said that 
the French had mutinied and troops marched on Paris. 
I asked him what happened and he said, "Oh, they 
stopped them." I wanted to go to Austria without war. 
I wanted to go to the Black Forest. I wanted to go to 
the Hartz Mountains. Where were the Hartz Moun- 
tains anyway? They were fighting in the Carpathians. 
I did not want to go there anyway. It might be good 
though. I could go to Spain if there was no war. The 
sun was going down and the day was cooling off. After 
supper I would go and see Catherine Barkley. I wished 
she were here now. I wished I were in Milan with her. 
I would like to eat at the Cova and then walk down the 
Via Manzoni in the hot evening and cross over and 


turn off along the canal and go to the hotel with Cath- 
erine Barkley. Maybe she would. Maybe she would 
pretend that I was her boy that was killed and we would 
go in the front door and the porter would take off his 
cap and I would stop at the concierge's desk and ask 
for the key and she would stand by the elevator and then 
we would get in the elevator and it would go up very 
slowly clicking at all the floors and then our floor and 
the boy would open the door and stand there and she 
would step out and I would step out and we would walk 
down the hall and I would put the key in the door and 
open it and go in and then take down the telephone and 
ask them to send a bottle of capri bianca in a silver 
bucket full of ice and you would hear the ice against 
the pail coming down the corridor and the boy would 
knock and I would say leave it outside the door please. 
Because we would not wear any clothes because it was 
so hot and the window open and the swallows flying 
over the roofs of the houses and when it was dark 
afterward and you went to the window very small bats 
hunting over the houses and close down over the trees 
and we would drink the capri and the door locked and 
it hot and only a sheet and the whole night and we 
would both love each other all night in the hot night in 
Milan. That was how it ought to be. I would eat 
quickly and go and see Catherine Barkley. 

They talked too much at the mess and I drank wine 
because to-night we were not all brothers unless I drank 
a little and talked with the priest about Archbishop 
Ireland who was, it seemed, a noble man and with whose 
injustice, the injustices he had received and in which I 
participated as an American, and of which I had never 
heard, I feigned acquaintance. It would have been im- 
polite not to have known something of them when I had 


listened to such a splendid explanation of their causes 
which were, after all, it seemed, misunderstandings. I 
thought he had a fine name and he came from Minne- 
sota which made a lovely name : Ireland of Minnesota, 
Ireland of Wisconsin, Ireland of Michigan. What 
made it pretty was that it sounded like Island. No that 
wasn't it. There was more to it than that. Yes, father. 
That is true, father. Perhaps, father. No, father. 
Well, maybe yes, father. You know more about it than 
I do, father. The priest was good but dull. The officers 
were not good but dull. The King was good but dull. 
The wine was bad but not dull. It took the enamel off 
your teeth and left it on the roof of your mouth. 

"And the priest was locked up," Rocca said, "be- 
cause they found the three per cent bonds on his person. 
It was in France of course. Here they would never 
have arrested him. He denied all knowledge of the five 
per cent bonds. This took place at Beziers. I was there 
and reading of it in the paper, went to the jail and asked 
to see the priest. It was quite evident he had stolen the 

"I don't believe a word of this," Rinaldi said. 

"Just as you like," Rocca said. "But I am telling it 
for our priest here. It is very informative. He is a 
priest; he will appreciate it." 

The priest smiled. "Go on," he said. "I am listen- 

"Of course some of the bonds were not accounted 
for but the priest had all of the three per cent bonds 
and several local obligations, I forget exactly what they 
were. So I went to the jail, now this is the point of the 
story, and I stood outside his cell and I said as though 
I were going to confession, 'Bless me, father, for you 
have sinned/ " 


There was great laughter from everybody. 

"And what did he say?" asked the priest. Rocca 
ignored this and went on to explain the joke to me. 
"You see the point, don't you?" It seemed it was a 
very funny joke if you understood it properly. They 
poured me more wine and I told the story about the 
English private soldier who was placed under the show- 
er bath. Then the major told the story of the eleven 
Czecho-slovaks and the Hungarian corporal. After 
some more wine I told the story of the jockey who 
found the penny. The major said there was an Italian 
story something like that about the duchess who could 
not sleep at night. At this point the priest left and I 
told the story about the travelling salesman who arrived 
at five o'clock in the morning at Marseilles when the 
mistral was blowing. The major said he had heard a 
report that I could drink. I denied this. He said it 
was true and by the corpse of Bacchus we would test 
whether it was true or not. Not Bacchus, I said. Not 
Bacchus. Yes, Bacchus, he said. I should drink cup 
for cup and glass for glass with Bassi, Fillipo Vin- 
cenza. Bassi said no that was no test because he had 
already drunk twice as much as I. I said that was a 
foul lie and, Bacchus or no Bacchus, Fillipo Vincenza 
Bassi or Bassi Fillippo Vicenza had never touched a 
drop all evening and what was his name anyway? He 
said was my name Frederico Enrico or Enrico Feder- 
ico ? I said let the best man win, Bacchus barred, and 
the major started us with red wine in mugs. Half-way 
through the wine I did not want any more. I remem- 
bered where I was going. 

"Bassi wins," I said. "He's a better man than I am. 
I have to go." 

"He does really," said Rinaldi. "He has a rendezvous. 
I know all about it." 


"I have to go." 

"Another night," said Bassi. "Another night when 
you feel stronger." He slapped me on the shoulder. 
There were lighted candles on the table. All the officers 
were very happy. "Good-night, gentlemen," I said. 

Rinaldi went out with me. We stood outside the 
door on the patch and he said, "You'd better not go up 
there drunk." 

"Fm not drunk, Rinin. Really." 

"You'd better chew some coffee." 


"I'll get some, baby. You walk up and down." He 
came back with a handful of roasted coffee beans, 
"Chew those, baby, and God be with you." 

"Bacchus," I said. 

"I'll walk down with you." 

"I'm perfectly all right." 

We walked along together through the town and I 
chewed the coffee. At the gate of the driveway that 
led up to the British villa, Rinaldi said good-night. 

"Good-night," I said. "Why don't you come in?" 

He shook his head. "No," he said, "I like the sim- 
pler pleasures." 

"Thank you for the coffee beans." 

"Nothing, baby. Nothing." 

I started down the driveway. The outlines of the 
cypresses that lined it were sharp and clear. I looked 
back and saw Rinaldi standing watching me and waved 
to him. 

I sat in the reception hall of the villa, waiting for 
Catherine Barkley to come down. Some one was com- 
ing down the hall-way. I stood up, but it was not 
Catherine. It was Miss Ferguson. 

"Hello," she said. "Catherine asked me to tell you 
she was sorry she couldn't see you this evening." 


"I'm so sorry. I hope she's not ill." 

"She's not awfully well." 

"Will you tell her how sorry I am?" 

"Yes, I will." 

"Do you think it would be any good to try and see 
her to-morrow ?" 

"Yes, I do." 

"Thank you very much," I said. "Good-night." 

I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and 
empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, I 
had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten 
to come but when I could not see her there I was feel- 
ing lonely and hollow. 


The next afternoon we heard there was to be an at- 
tack up the river that night and that we were to take 
four cars there. Nobody knew anything about it al- 
though they all spoke with great positiveness and stra- 
tegical knowledge. I was riding in the first car and as 
we passed the entry to the British hospital I told the 
driver to stop. The other cars pulled up. I got out and 
told the driver to go on and that if we had not caught 
up to them at the junction of the road to Cormons to 
wait there. I hurried up the driveway and inside the 
reception hall I asked for Miss Barkley. 

"She's on duty." 

"Could I see her just for a moment ?" 

They sent an orderly to see and she came back with 

"I stopped to ask if you were better. They told me 
you were on duty, so I asked to see you." 

"I'm quite well," she said, "I think the heat knocked 
me over yesterday." 

"I have to go." 

"I'll just step out the door a minute." 

"And you're all right ?" I asked outside. 

"Yes, darling. Are you coming to-night?" 

"No. I'm leaving now for a show up above Plava." 

"A show?" 

"I don't think it's anything." 

"And you'll be back?" 


She was unclasping something from her neck. She 



put it in my hand. "It's a Saint Anthony," she said. 
"And come to-morrow night." 

"You're not a Catholic, are you?" 

"No. But they say a Saint Anthony's very useful." 

"I'll take care of him for you. Good-by." 

"No," she said, "not good-by." 

"All right." 

"Be a good boy and be careful. No, you can't kiss 
me here. You can't." 

"All right." 

I looked back and saw her standing on the steps. 
She waved and I kissed my hand and held it out. She 
waved again and then I was out of the driveway and 
climbing up into the seat of the ambulance and we 
started. The Saint Anthony was in a little white metal 
capsule. I opened the capsule and spilled him out into 
my hand. 

"Saint Anthony?" asked the driver. 


"I have one." His right hand left the wheel and 
opened a button on his tunic and pulled it out from un- 
der his shirt. 


I put my Saint Anthony back in the capsule, spilled 
the thin gold chain together and put it all in my breast 

"You don't wear him ?" 


"It's better to wear him. That's what it's for." 

"All right," I said. I undid the clasp of the gold 
chain and put it around my neck and clasped it. The 
saint hung down on the outside of my uniform and I 
undid the throat of my tunic, unbuttoned the shirt col- 
lar and dropped him in under the shirt. I felt him in 


his metal box against my chest while we drove. Then I 
forgot about him. After I was wounded I never found 
him. Some one probably got it at one of the dressing 

We drove fast when we were over the bridge and 
soon we saw the dust of the other cars ahead down the 
road. The road curved and we saw the three cars look- 
ing quite small, the dust rising from the wheels and go- 
ing off through the trees. We caught them and passed 
them and turned off on a road that climbed up into the 
hills. Driving in convoy is not unpleasant if you are 
the first car and I settled back in the seat and watched 
the country. We were in the foot-hills on the near side 
of the river and as the road mounted there were the 
high mountains off to the north with snow still on the 
tops. I looked back and saw the three cars all climb- 
ing, spaced by the interval of their dust. We passed a 
long column of loaded mules, the drivers walking along 
beside the mules wearing red fezzes. They were ber- 

Beyond the mule train the road was empty and we 
climbed through the hills and then went down over the 
shoulder of a long hill into a river-valley. There were 
trees along both sides of the road and through the right 
line of trees I saw the river, the water clear, fast and 
shallow. The river was low and there were stretches 
of sand and pebbles with a narrow channel of water 
and sometimes the water spread like a sheen over the 
pebbly bed. Close to the bank I saw deep pools, the 
water blue like the sky. I saw arched stone bridges 
over the river where tracks turned off from the road 
and we passed stone farmhouses with pear trees can- 
delabraed against their south walls and low stone walls 
in the fields. The road went up the valley a long way 


and then we turned off and commenced to climb into the 
hills again. The road climbed steeply going up and back 
and forth through chestnut woods to level finally along 
a ridge. I could look down through the woods and see, 
far below, with the sun on it, the line of the river that 
separated the two armies. We went along the rough 
new military road that followed the crest of the ridge 
and I looked to the north at the two ranges of moun- 
tains, green and dark to the snow-line and then white 
and lovely in the sun. Then, as the road mounted along 
the ridge, I saw a third range of mountains, higher 
snow mountains, that looked chalky white and fur- 
rowed, with strange planes, and then there were moun- 
tains far off beyond all these that you could hardly tell 
if you really saw. Those were all the Austrians* moun- 
tains and we had nothing like them. Ahead there was a 
rounded turn-off in the road to the right and looking 
down I could see the road dropping through the trees. 
There were troops on this road and motor trucks and 
mules with mountain guns and as we went down, keep- 
ing to the side, I could see the river far down below, 
the line of ties and rails running along it, the old bridge 
where the railway crossed to the other side and across, 
under a hill beyond the river, the broken houses of the 
little town that was to be taken. 

It was nearly dark when we came down and turned 
onto the main road that ran beside the river. 


The road was crowded and there were screens of 
corn-stalk and straw matting on both sides and matting 
over the top so that it was like the entrance at a circus 
or a native village. We drove slowly in this matting- 
covered tunnel and came out onto a bare cleared space 
where the railway station had been. The road here was 
below the level of the river bank and all along the side 
of the sunken road there were holes dug in the bank 
with infantry in them. The sun was going down and 
looking up along the bank as we drove I saw the Aus- 
trian observation balloons above the hills on the other 
side dark against the sunset. We parked the cars be- 
yond a brickyard. The ovens and some deep holes had 
been equipped as dressing stations. There were three 
doctors that I knew. I talked with the major and 
learned that when it should start and our cars should be 
loaded we would drive them back along the screened 
road and up to the main road along the ridge where 
there would be a post and other cars to clear them. 
He hoped the road would not jam. It was a one-road 
show. The road was screened because it was in sight of 
the Austrians across the river. Here at the brickyard 
we were sheltered from rifle or machine-gun fire by the 
river bank. There was one smashed bridge across the 
river. They were going to put over another bridge 
when the bombardment started and some troops were 
to cross at the shallows up above at the bend of the 
river. The major was a little man with upturned mus- 
taches. He had been in the war in Libya and wore two 
wound-stripes. He said that if the thing went well he 



would see that I was decorated. I said I hoped it would 
go well but that he was too kind. I asked him if there 
was a big dugout where the drivers could stay and he 
sent a soldier to show me. I went with him and found 
the dugout, which was very good. The drivers were 
pleased with it and I left them there. The major asked 
me to have a drink with him and two other officers. We 
drank rum and it was very friendly. Outside it was get- 
ting dark. I asked what time the attack was to be and 
they said as soon as it was dark. I went back to the 
drivers. They were sitting in the dugout talking and 
when I came in they stopped. I gave them each a pack- 
age of cigarettes, Macedonias, loosely packed ciga- 
rettes that spilled tobacco and needed to have the ends 
twisted before you smoked them. Manera lit his lighter 
and passed it around. The lighter was shaped like a 
Fiat radiator. I told them what I had heard. 

"Why didn't we see the post when we came down?'' 
Passini asked. 

"It was just beyond where we turned off." 

"That road will be a dirty mess," Manera said. 

"They'll shell the out of us." 


"What about eating, lieutenant? We won't get a 
chance to eat after this thing starts." 

"Fll go and see now," I said. 

"You want us to stay here or can we look around ?" 

"Better stay here." 

I went back to the major's dugout and he said the field 
kitchen would be along and the drivers could come and 
get their stew. He would loan them mess tins if they did 
not have them. I said I thought they had them. I went 
back and told the drivers I would get them as soon as the 
food came. Manera said he hoped it would come before 


the bombardment started. They were silent until I went 
out. They were all mechanics and hated the war. 

I went out to look at the cars and see what was going 
on and then came back and sat down in the dugout with 
the four drivers. We sat on the ground with our backs 
against the wall and smoked. Outside it was nearly dark. 
The earth of the dugout was warm and dry and I let my 
shoulders back against the wall, sitting on the small of 
my back, and relaxed. 

"Who goes to the attack ?" asked Gavuzzi. 


"All bersaglieri?" 

"I think so." 

"There aren't enough troops here for a real attack." 

"It is probably to draw attention from where the real 
attack will be." 

"Do the men know that who attack?" 

"I don't think so." 

"Of course they don't," Manera said. "They wouldn't 
attack if they did." 

"Yes they would," Passini said. "Bersaglieri are 

"They are brave and have good discipline," I said. 

"They are big through the chest by measurement, and 
healthy. But they are still fools." 

"The granatieri are tall," Manera said. This was a 
joke. They all laughed. 

"Were you there, Tenente, when they wouldn't at- 
tack and they shot every tenth man?" 


"It is true. They lined them up afterward and took 
every tenth man. Carabinieri shot them." 

"Carabinieri," said Passini and spat on the floor. 


"But those grenadiers ; all over six feet. They wouldn't 

"If everybody would not attack the war would be 
over," Manera said. 

"It wasn't that way with the granatieri. They were 
afraid. The officers all came from such good families." 

"Some of the officers went alone." 

"A sergeant shot two officers who would not get 

"Some troops went out" 

"Those that went out were not lined up when they 
took the tenth men." 

"One of those shot by the carabinieri is from my 
town," Passini said. "He was a big smart tall boy to be 
in the granatieri. Always in Rome. Always with the 
girls. Always with the carabinieri." He laughed. 
"Now they have a guard outside his house with a bayo- 
net and nobody can come to see his mother and father 
and sisters and his father loses his civil rights and can- 
not even vote. They are all without law to protect them. 
Anybody can take their property." 

"If it wasn't that that happens to their families no- 
body would go to the attack." 

"Yes. Alpini would. These V. E. soldiers would. 
Some bersaglieri." 

"Bersaglieri have run too. Now they try to forget 

"You should not let us talk this way, Tenente. Ev- 
viva 1'esercito," Passini said sarcastically. 

"I know how you talk," I said. "But as long as you 
drive the cars and behave " 

" — and don't talk so other officers can hear," Manera 

"I believe we should get the war over," I said. "It 


would not finish it if one side stopped fighting. It 
would only be worse if we stopped fighting/' 

"It could not be worse," Passini said respectfully. 
"There is nothing worse than war." 

"Defeat is worse." 

"I do not believe it," Passini said still respectfully. 
"What is defeat? You go home." 

"They come after you. They take your home. They 
take your sisters." 

"I don't believe it," Passini said. "They can't do that 
to everybody. Let everybody defend his home. Let 
them keep their sisters in the house." 

"They hang you. They come and make you be a 
soldier again. Not in the auto-ambulance, in the in- 

"They can't hang every one." 

"An outside nation can't make you be a soldier," 
Manera said. "At the first battle you all run." 

"Like the Tchecos." 

"I think you do not know anything about being con- 
quered and so you think it is not bad." 

"Tenente," Passini said. "We understand you let us 
talk. Listen. There is nothing as bad as war. We in 
the auto-ambulance cannot even realize at all how bad 
it is. When people realize how bad it is they cannot do 
anything to stop it because they go crazy. There are 
some people who never realize. There are people who 
are afraid of their officers. It is with them that war is 

"I know it is bad but we must finish it." 

"It doesn't finish. There is no finish to a war." 

"Yes there is." 

Passini shook his head. 

"War is not won by victory. What if we take San 


Gabriele? What if we take the Carso and Monfalcone 
and Trieste? Where are we then? Did you see all the 
far mountains to-day? Do you think we could take all 
them too? Only if the Austrians stop fighting. One 
side must stop fighting. Why don't we stop fighting? 
If they come down into Italy they will get tired and 
go away. They have their own country. But no, in- 
stead there is a war." 

"You're an orator/' 

"We think. We read. We are not peasants. We are 
mechanics. But even the peasants know better than to 
believe in a war. Everybody hates this war." 

"There is a class that controls a country that is stupid 
and does not realize anything and never can. That is 
why we have this war." 

"Also they make money out of it." 

"Most of them don't," said Passini. "They are too 
stupid. They do it for nothing. For stupidity." 

"We must shut up," said Manera. "We talk too 
much even for the Tenente." 

"He likes it," said Passini. "We will convert him." 

"But now we will shut up," Manera said. 

"Do we eat yet, Tenente?" Gavuzzi asked. 

"I will go and see," I said. Gordini stood up and 
went outside with me. 

"Is there anything I can do, Tenente? Can I help in 
any way?" He was the quietest one of the four. 
"Come with me if you want," I said, "and we'll see." 

It was dark outside and the long light from the 
search-lights was moving over the mountains. There 
were big search-lights on that front mounted on cami- 
ons that you passed sometimes on the roads at night, 
close behind the lines, the camion stopped a little off the 
road, an officer directing the light and the crew scared. 


We crossed the brickyard, and stopped at the main 
dressing station. There was a little shelter of green 
branches outside over the entrance and in the dark the 
night wind rustled the leaves dried by the sun. Inside 
there was a light. The major was at the telephone sit- 
ting on a box. One of the medical captains said the at- 
tack had been put forward an hour. He offered me a 
glass of cognac. I looked at the board tables, the in- 
struments shining in the light, the basins and the stop- 
pered bottles. Gordini stood behind me. The major 
got up from the telephone. 

"It starts now," he said. "It has been put back 

I looked outside, it was dark and the Austrian search- 
lights were moving on the mountains behind us. It was 
quiet for a moment still, then from all the guns behind 
us the bombardment started. 

"Savoia," said the major. 

"About the soup, major," I said. He did not hear 
me. I repeated it. 

"It hasn't come up." 

A big shell came in and burst outside in the brick- 
yard. Another burst and in the noise you could hear 
the smaller noise of the brick and dirt raining down. 

"What is there to eat?" 

"We have a little pasta asciutta," the major said. 

"I'll take what you can give me." 

The major spoke to an orderly who went out of 
sight in the back and came back with a metal basin of 
cold cooked macaroni. I handed it to Gordini. 

"Have you any cheese?" 

The major spoke grudgingly to the orderly who 
ducked back into the hole again and came out with a 
quarter of a white cheese. 


"Thank you very much," I said. 

"You'd better not go out." 

Outside something was set down beside the entrance. 
One of the two men who had carried it looked in. 

"Bring him in," said the major. "What's the matter 
with you? Do you want us to come outside and get 

The two stretcher-bearers picked up the man under 
the arms and by the legs and brought him in. 

"Slit the tunic," the major said. 

He held a forceps with some gauze in the end. The 
two captains took off their coats. "Get out of here," the 
major said to the two stretcher-bearers. 

"Come on," I said to Gordini. 

"You better wait until the shelling is over," the ma- 
jor said over his shoulder. 

"They want to eat," I said. 

"As you wish." 

Outside we ran across the brickyard. A shell burst 
short near the river bank. Then there was one that we 
did not hear coming until the sudden rush. We both 
went flat and with the flash and bump of the burst and 
the smell heard the singing off of the fragments and 
the rattle of falling brick. Gordini got up and ran for 
the dugout. I was after him, holding the cheese, its 
smooth surface covered with brick dust. Inside the 
dugout were the three drivers sitting against the wall, 

"Here, you patriots," I said. 

"How are the cars?" Manera asked. 

"All right." 

"Did they scare you, Tenente?" 

"You're damned right," I said. 

I took out my knife, opened it, wiped off the blade 


and pared off the dirty outside surface of the cheese. 
Gavuzzi handed me the basin of macaroni. 

"Start in to eat, Tenente." 

"No," I said. "Put it on the floor. We'll all eat." 

"There are no forks." 

"What the hell," I said in English. 

I cut the cheese into pieces and laid them on the 

"Sit down to it," I said. They sat down and waited. 
I put thumb and fingers into the macaroni and lifted. 
A mass loosened. 

"Lift it high, Tenente." 

I lifted it to arm's length and the strands cleared. I 
lowered it into the mouth, sucked and snapped in the 
ends, and chewed, then took a bite of cheese, chewed, 
and then a drink of the wine. It tasted of rusty metal. 
I handed the canteen back to Passini. 

"It's rotten/' he said. "It's been in there too long. 
I had it in the car." 

They were all eating, holding their chins close over 
the basin, tipping their heads back, sucking in the ends. 
I took another mouthful and some cheese and a rinse of 
wine. Something landed outside that shook the earth. 

"Four hundred twenty or minnenwerfer," Gavuzzi 

"There aren't any four hundred twenties in the 
mountains," I said. 

"They have big Skoda guns. I've seen the holes." 

"Three hundred fives." 

We went on eating. There was a cough, a noise like 
a railway engine starting and then an explosion that 
shook the earth again. 

"This isn't a deep dugout," Passini said. 

"That was a big trench mortar." 


"Yes, sir." 

I ate the end of my piece of cheese and took a swal- 
low of wine. Through the other noise I heard a cough, 
then came the chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh — then there was a 
flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and 
a roar that started white and went red and on and on in 
a rushing wind. I tried to breathe but my breath would 
not come and I felt myself rush bodily out of myself 
and out and out and out and all the time bodily in the 
wind. I went out swiftly, all of myself, and I knew I 
was dead and that it had all been a mistake to think you 
just died. Then I floated, and instead of going on I felt 
myself slide back. I breathed and I was back. The 
ground was torn up and in front of my head there was 
a splintered beam of wood. In the jolt of my head I 
heard somebody crying. I thought somebody was 
screaming. I tried to move but I could not move. I 
heard the machine-guns and rifles firing across the river 
and all along the river. There was a great splashing and 
I saw the star-shells go up and burst and float whitely 
and rockets going up and heard the bombs, all this in a 
moment, and then I heard close to me some one saying 
"Mama Mia! Oh, mama Mia!" I pulled and twisted 
and got my legs loose finally and turned around and 
touched him. It was Passini and when I touched him 
he screamed. His legs were toward me and I saw in 
the dark and the light that they were both smashed 
above the knee. One leg was gone and the other was 
held by tendons and part of the trouser and the stump 
twitched and jerked as though it were not connected. 
He bit his arm and moaned, "Oh mama mia, mama 
Mia," then, "Dio te salve, Maria. Dio te salve, Maria. 
Oh Jesus shoot me Christ shoot me mama mia mama 
Mia oh purest lovely Mary shoot me. Stop it. Stop it. 


Stop it. Oh Jesus lovely Mary stop it. Oh oh oh oh," 
then choking, "Mama mama mia." Then he was quiet, 
biting his arm, the stump of his leg twitching. 

"Porta feriti I" I shouted holding my hands cupped. 
"Porta Feriti I" I tried to get closer to Passini to try 
to put a tourniquet on the legs but I could not move. I 
tried again and my legs moved a little. I could pull 
backward along with my arms and elbows. Passini 
was quiet now. I sat beside him, undid my tunic and 
tried to rip the tail of my shirt. It would not rip and 
I bit the edge of the cloth to start it. Then I thought of 
his puttees. I had on wool stockings but Passini wore 
puttees. All the drivers wore puttees but Passini had 
only one leg. I unwound the puttee and while I was 
doing it I saw there was no need to try and make a 
tourniquet because he was dead already. I made sure 
he was dead. There were three others to locate. I sat 
up straight and as I did so something inside my head 
moved like the weights on a doll's eyes and it hit me 
inside in back of my eyeballs. My legs felt warm and 
wet and my shoes were wet and warm inside. I knew 
that I was hit and leaned over and put my hand on my 
knee. My knee wasn't there. My hand went in and 
my knee was down on my shin. I wiped my hand on 
my shirt and another floating light came very slowly 
down and I looked at my leg and was very afraid. Oh, 
God, I said, get me out of here. I knew, however, that 
there had been three others. There were four drivers. 
Passini was dead. That left three. Some one took 
hold of me under the arms and somebody else lifted my 

"There are three others," I said. "One is dead." 
"It's Manera. We went for a stretcher but there 
wasn't any. How are you, Tenente?" 


"Where is Gordini and Gavuzzi?" 

"Gordini's at the post getting bandaged. Gavuzzi 
has your legs. Hold on to my neck, Tenente. Are you 
badly hit?" 

"In the leg. How is Gordini?" 

"He's all right. It was a big trench mortar shell." 

"Passings dead." 

"Yes. He's dead." 

A shell fell close and they both dropped to the ground 
and dropped me. "I'm sorry, Tenente," said Manera. 
"Hang onto my neck." 

"If you drop me again." 

"It was because we were scared." 

"Are you unwounded?" 

"We are both wounded a little." 

"Can Gordini drive?" 

"I don't think so." 

They dropped me once more before we reached the 

"You sons of bitches," I said. 

"I am sorry, Tenente," Manera said. "We won't 
drop you again." 

Outside the post a great many of us lay on the 
ground in the dark. They carried wounded in and 
brought them out. I could see the light come out from 
the dressing station when the curtain opened and they 
brought some one in or out. The dead were off to one 
side. The doctors were working with their sleeves up 
to their shoulders and were red as butchers. There 
were not enough stretchers. Some of the wounded 
were noisy but most were quiet. The wind blew the 
leaves in the bower over the door of the dressing sta- 
tion and the night was getting cold. Stretcher-bearers 


came in all the time, put their stretchers down, un- 
loaded them and went away. As soon as I got to the 
dressing station Manera brought a medical sergeant 
out and he put bandages on both my legs. He said 
there was so much dirt blown into the wound that there 
had not been much hemorrhage. They would take me 
as soon as possible. He went back inside. Gordini 
could not drive, Manera said. His shoulder was 
smashed and his head was hurt. He had not felt bad 
but now the shoulder had stiffened. He was sitting up 
beside one of the brick walls. Manera and Gavuzzi 
each went off with a load of wounded. They could drive 
all right. The British had come with three ambulances 
and they had two men on each ambulance. One of their 
drivers came over to me, brought by Gordini who 
looked very white and sick. The Britisher leaned over. 

"Are you hit badly ?" he asked. He was a tall man 
and wore steel-rimmed spectacles. 

"In the legs. ,, 

"It's not serious I hope. Will you have a cigarette ?" 


"They tell me you've lost two drivers. ,, 

"Yes. One killed and the fellow that brought you." 

"What rotten luck. Would you like us to take the 

"That's what I wanted to ask you." 

"We'd take quite good care of them and return 
them to the Villa. 206 aren't you?" 


"It's a charming place. I've seen you about. They 
tell me you're an American." 


"I'm English." 


u Nor 

"Yes, English. Did you think I was Italian? There 
were some Italians with one of our units." 

"It would be fine if you would take the cars," I said. 

"We'll be most careful of them," he straightened up. 
"This chap of yours was very anxious for me to see 
you." He patted Gordini on the shoulder. Gordini 
winced and smiled. The Englishman broke into voluble 
and perfect Italian. "Now everything is arranged. I've 
seen your Tenente. We will take over the two cars. 
You won't worry now." He broke off, "I must do 
something about getting you out of here. I'll see the 
medical wallahs. We'll take you back with us." 

He walked across to the dressing station, stepping 
carefully among the wounded. I saw the blanket open, 
the light came out and he went in. 

"He will look after you, Tenente," Gordini said. 

"How are you, Franco?" 

"I am all right." He sat down beside me. In a 
moment the blanket in front of the dressing station 
opened and two stretcher-bearers came out followed by 
the tall Englishman. He brought them over to me. 

"Here is the American Tenente," he said in Italian. 

"I'd rather wait," I said. "There are much worse 
wounded than me. I'm all right." 

"Come come," he said. "Don't be a bloody hero." 
Then in Italian: "Lift him very carefully about the 
legs. His legs are very painful. He is the legitimate 
son of President Wilson." They picked me up and 
took me into the dressing room. Inside they were oper- 
ating on all the tables. The little major looked at us 
furious. He recognized me and waved a forceps. 


"Ca va." 


"I have brought him in," the tall Englishman said in 
Italian. "The only son of the American Ambassador. 
He can be here until you are ready to take him. Then I 
will take him with my first load." He bent over me. 
"I'll look up their adjutant to do your papers and it will 
all go much faster." He stooped to go under the door- 
way and went out. The major was unhooking the for- 
ceps now, dropping them in a basin. I followed his 
hands with my eyes. Now he was bandaging. Then 
the stretcher-bearers took the man off the table. 

"I'll take the American Tenente," one of the captains 
said. They lifted me onto the table. It was hard and 
slippery. There were many strong smells, chemical 
smells and the sweet smell of blood. They took off my 
trousers and the medical captain commenced dictating 
to the sergeant-adjutant while he worked, "Multiple 
superficial wounds of the left and right thigh and left 
and right knee and right foot. Profound wounds of 
right knee and foot. Lacerations of the scalp (he 
probed — Does that hurt? — Christ, yes!) with pos- 
sible fracture of the skull. Incurred in the line of duty. 
That's what keeps you from being court-martialled for 
self-inflicted wounds," he said. "Would you like a drink 
of brandy? How did you run into this thing anyway? 
What were you trying to do ? Commit suicide ? Anti- 
tetanus please, and mark a cross on both legs. Thank 
you. I'll clean this up a little, wash it out, and put on a 
dressing. Your blood coagulates beautifully." 

The adjutant, looking up from the paper, "What in- 
flicted the wounds ?" 

The medical captain, "What hit you ?" 
Me, with the eyes shut, "A trench mortar shell." 
The captain, doing things that hurt sharply and 
severing tissue — "Are you sure?" 


Me — trying to lie still and feeling my stomach flut- 
ter when the flesh was cut, "I think so." 

Captain doctor — (interested in something he was 
finding), "Fragments of enemy trench-mortar shell. 
Now I'll probe for some of this if you like but it's not 
necessary. Til paint all this and — Does that sting? 
Good, that's nothing to how it will feel later. The pain 
hasn't started yet. Bring him a glass of brandy. The 
shock dulls the pain ; but this is all right, you have noth- 
ing to worry about if it doesn't infect and it rarely 
does now. How is your head?" 

"Good Christ!" I said. 

"Better not drink too much brandy then. If you've 
got a fracture you don't want inflammation. How does 
that feel?" 

Sweat ran all over me. 

"Good Christ!" I said. 

"I guess you've got a fracture all right. I'll wrap 
you up and don't bounce your head around." He band- 
aged, his hands moving very fast and the bandage 
coming taut and sure. "All right, good luck and Vive 
la France." 

"He's an American," one of the other captains said. 

"I thought you said he was a Frenchman. He talks 
French," the captain said. "I've known him before. I 
always thought he was French." He drank a half 
tumbler of cognac. "Bring on something serious. Get 
some more of that Anti-tetanus." The captain waved to 
me. They lifted me and the blanket-flap went across 
my face as we went out. Outside the sergeant-adjutant 
knelt down beside me where I lay, "Name?" he asked 
softly. "Middle name? First name? Rank? Where 
born? What class? What corps?" and so on. "I'm 


sorry for your head, Tenente. I hope you feel better. 
I'm sending you now with the English ambulance.' ' 

"Frri all right," I said. 'Thank you very much." 
The pain that the major had spoken about had started 
and all that was happening was without interest or rela- 
tion. After a while the English ambulance came up 
and they put me onto a stretcher and lifted the stretcher 
up to the ambulance level and shoved it in. There was 
another stretcher by the side with a man on it whose 
nose I could see, waxy-looking, out of the bandages. 
He breathed very heavily. There were stretchers lifted 
and slid into the slings above. The tall English driver 
came around and looked in, "I'll take it very easily," he 
said. "I hope you'll be comfy." I felt the engine start, 
felt him climb up into the front seat, felt the brake 
come off and the clutch go in, then we started. I lay 
still and let the pain ride. 

As the ambulance climbed along the road, it was slow 
in the traffic, sometimes it stopped, sometimes it backed 
on a turn, then finally it climbed quite fast. I felt 
something dripping. At first it dropped slowly and reg- 
ularly, then it pattered into a stream. I shouted to the 
driver. He stopped the car and looked in through the 
hole behind his seat. 

"What is it?" 

"The man on the stretcher over me has a hemor- 

"We're not far from the top. I wouldn't be able to 
get the stretcher out alone." He started the car. The 
stream kept on. In the dark I could not see where it 
came from the canvas overhead. I tried to move side- 
ways so that it did not fall on me. Where it had run 
down under my shirt it was warm and sticky. I was 
cold and my leg hurt so that it made me sick. After a 


while the stream from the stretcher above lessened and 
started to drip again and I heard and felt the canvas 
above move as the man on the stretcher settled more 

"How is he?" the Englishman called back. "We're 
almost up." 

"He's dead I think," I said. 

The drops fell very slowly, as they fall from an icicle 
after the sun has gone. It was cold in the car in the 
night as the road climbed. At the post on the top they 
took the stretcher out and put another in and we went 


In the ward at the field hospital they told me a visitor 
was coming to see me in the afternoon. It was a hot 
day and there were many flies in the room. My orderly 
had cut paper into strips and tied the strips to a stick to 
make a brush that swished the flies away. I watched 
them settle on the ceiling. When he stopped swishing 
and fell asleep they came down and I blew them away 
and finally covered my face with my hands and slept 
too. It was very hot and when I woke my legs itched. 
I waked the orderly and he poured mineral water on the 
dressings. That made the bed damp and cool. Those of 
us that were awake talked across the ward. The after- 
noon was a quiet time. In the morning they came to 
each bed in turn, three men nurses and a doctor and 
picked you up out of bed and carried you into the 
dressing room so that the beds could be made while 
we were having our wounds dressed. It was not a 
pleasant trip to the dressing room and I did not know 
until later that beds could be made with men in them. 
My orderly had finished pouring water and the bed felt 
cool and lovely and I was telling him where to scratch 
on the soles of my feet against the itching when one 
of the doctors brought in Rinaldi. He came in very 
fast and bent down over the bed and kissed me. I saw 
he wore gloves. 

"How are you, baby? How do you feel? I bring 
you this — " It was a bottle of cognac. The orderly 
brought a chair and he sat down, "and good news. 
You will be decorated. They want to get you the 



medaglia d'argento but perhaps they can get only the 

"What for?" 

"Because you are gravely wounded. They say if you 
can prove you did any heroic act you can get the silver. 
Otherwise it will be the bronze. Tell me exactly what 
happened. Did you do any heroic act?" 

"No," I said. "I was blown up while we were eating 

"Be serious. You must have done something heroic 
either before or after. Remember carefully." 

"I did not." 

"Didn't you carry anybody on your back? Gordini 
says you carried several people on your back but the 
medical major at the first post declares it is impossible. 
He has to sign the proposition for the citation." 

"I didn't carry anybody. I couldn't move." 

"That doesn't matter," said Rinaldi. 

He took off his gloves. 

"I think we can get you the silver. Didn't you re- 
fuse to be medically aided before the others?" 

"Not very firmly." 

"That doesn't matter. Look how you are wounded. 
Look at your valorous conduct in asking to go always 
to the first line. Besides, the operation was successful." 

"Did they cross the river all right?" 

"Enormously. They take nearly a thousand pris- 
oners. It's in the bulletin. Didn't you see it?" 


"I'll bring it to you. It is a successful coup de main." 

"How is everything?" 

"Splendid. We are all splendid. Everybody is proud 
of you. Tell me just exactly how it happened. I am 
positive you will get the silver. Go on tell me. Tell me 


all about it." He paused and thought. "Maybe you will 
get an English medal too. There was an English there. 
I'll go and see him and ask if he will recommend you. 
He ought to be able to do something. Do you suffer 
much? Have a drink. Orderly, go get a corkscrew. 
Oh you should see what I did in the removal of three 
metres of small intestine and better now than ever. It 
is one for The Lancet. You do me a translation and I 
will send it to The Lancet. Every day I am better. 
Poor dear baby, how do you feel ? Where is that damn 
corkscrew ? You are so brave and quiet I forget you are 
suffering." He slapped his gloves on the edge of the 

"Here is the corkscrew, Signor Tenente," the order- 
ly said. 

"Open the bottle. Bring a glass. Drink that, baby. 
How is your poor head ? I looked at your papers. You 
haven't any fracture. That major at the first post was 
a hog-butcher. I would take you and never hurt you. 
I never hurt anybody. I learn how to do it. Every 
day I learn to do things smoother and better. You 
must forgive me for talking so much, baby. I am very 
moved to see you badly wounded. There, drink that. 
It's good. It cost fifteen lire. It ought to be good. 
Five stars. After I leave here I'll go see that English 
and he'll get you an English medal." 

"They don't give them like that." 

"You are so modest. I will send the liaison officer. 
He can handle the English." 

"Have you seen Miss Barkley?" 

"I will bring her here. I will go now and bring her 

"Don't go," I said. "Tell me about Gorizia. How 
are the girls?" 


"There are no girls. For two weeks now they haven't 
changed them. I don't go there any more. It is dis- 
graceful. They aren't girls; they are old war com- 

"You don't go at all?" 

"I just go to see if there is anything new. I stop 
by. They all ask for you. It is a disgrace that they 
should stay so long that they become friends." 

"Maybe girls don't want to go to the front any more." 

"Of course they do. They have plenty of girls. It is 
just bad administration. They are keeping them for the 
pleasure of dugout hiders in the rear." 

"Poor Rinaldi," I said. "All alone at the war with 
no new girls." 

Rinaldi poured himself another glass of the cognac. 

"I don't think it will hurt you, baby. You take it." 

I drank the cognac and felt it warm all the way 
down. Rinaldi poured another glass. He was quieter 
now. He held up the glass. "To your valorous wounds. 
To the silver medal. Tell me, baby, when you lie here 
all the time in the hot weather don't you get excited ?" 


"I can't imagine lying like that. I would go crazy." 

"You are crazy." 

"I wish you were back. No one to come in at night 
from adventures. No one to make fun of. No one to 
lend me money. No blood brother and roommate. 
Why do you get yourself wounded?" 

"You can make fun of the priest." 

"That priest. It isn't me that makes fun of him. It 
is the captain. I like him. If you must have a priest 
have that priest. He's coming to see you. He makes 
big preparations." 

"I like him." 


"Oh, I knew it. Sometimes I think you and he are 
a little that way. You know." 

"No, you don't." 

"Yes, I do sometimes. A little that way like the num- 
ber of the first regiment of the Brigata Ancona." 

"Oh, go to hell." 

He stood up and put on his gloves. 

"Oh I love to tease you, baby. With your priest and 
your English girl, and really you are just like me under- 

"No, I'm not." 

"Yes, we are. You are really an Italian. All fire and 
smoke and nothing inside. You only pretend to be 
American. We are brothers and we love each other." 

"Be good while I'm gone," I said. 

"I will send Miss Barkley. You are better with her 
without me. You are purer and sweeter." 

"Oh, go to hell." 

"I will send her. Your lovely cool goddess. English 
goddess. My God what would a man do with a woman 
like that except worship her ? What else is an English- 
woman good for ?" 

"You are an ignorant foul-mouthed dago." 

"A what?" 

"An ignorant wop." 

"Wop. You are a frozen-faced . . . wop." 

"You are ignorant. Stupid." I saw that word 
pricked him and kept on. "Uninformed. Inexperi- 
enced, stupid from inexperience." 

"Truly? I tell you something about your good wo- 
men. Your goddesses. There is only one difference be- 
tween taking a girl who has always been good and a 
woman. With a girl it is painful. That's all I know." 


He slapped the bed with his glove. "And you never 
know if the girl will really like it" 

"Don't get angry." 

"I'm not angry. I just tell you, baby, for your own 
good. To save you trouble." 

"That's the only difference?" 

"Yes. But millions of fools like you don't know it." 

"You were sweet to tell me." 

"We won't quarrel, baby. I love you too much. But 
don't be a fool." 

"No. I'll be wise like you." 

"Don't be angry, baby. Laugh. Take a drink. I 
must go, really." 

"You're a good old boy." 

"Now you see. Underneath we are the same. We 
are war brothers. Kiss me good-by." 

"You're sloppy." 

"No. I am just more affectionate." 

I felt his breath come toward me. "Good-by. I 
come to see you again soon." His breath went away. 
"I won't kiss you if you don't want. I'll send your 
English girl. Good-by, baby. The cognac is under the 
bed. Get well soon." 

He was gone. 


It was dusk when the priest came. They had brought 
the soup and afterward taken away the bowls and I was 
lying looking at the rows of beds and out the win- 
dow at the tree-top that moved a little in the evening 
breeze. The breeze came in through the window and it 
was cooler with the evening. The flies were on the ceil- 
ing now and on the electric light bulbs that hung on 
wires. The lights were only turned on when some one 
was brought in at night or when something was being 
done. It made me feel very young to have the dark 
come after the dusk and then remain. It was like being 
put to bed after early supper. The orderly came down 
between the beds and stopped. Some one was with him. 
It was the priest. He stood there small, brown-faced, 
and embarrassed. 

"How do you do?" he asked. He put some packages 
down by the bed, on the floor. 

"All right, father." 

He sat down in the chair that had been brought for 
Rinaldi and looked out of the window embarrassedly. 
I noticed his face looked very tired. 

"I can only stay a minute," he said. "It is late." 

"It's not late. How is the mess?" 

He smiled. "I am still a great joke," he sounded 
tired too. "Thank God they are all well." 

"I am so glad you are all right," he said. "I hope 
you don't suffer." He seemed very tired and I was not 
used to seeing him tired. 

"Not any more." 

"I miss you at the mess:" 



"I wish I were there. I always enjoyed our talk- 

"I brought you a few little things/' he said. He 
picked up the packages. "This is mosquito netting. 
This is a bottle of vermouth. You like vermouth? 
These are English papers." 

"Please open them." 

He was pleased and undid them. I held the mosquito 
netting in my hands. The vermouth he held up for me 
to see and then put it on the floor beside the bed. I 
held up one of the sheaf of English papers. I could 
read the headlines by turning it so the half-light from 
the window was on it. It was The News of the World. 

"The others are illustrated," he said. 

"It will be a great happiness to read them. Where 
did you get them?" 

"I sent for them to Mestre. I will have more." 

"You were very good to come, father. Will you 
drink a glass of vermouth?" 

"Thank you. You keep it. It's for you." 

"No, drink a glass." 

"All right. I will bring you more then." 

The orderly brought the glasses and opened the bot- 
tle. He broke off the cork and the end had to be shoved 
down into the bottle. I could see the priest was dis- 
appointed but he said, "That's all right. It's no mat- 

"Here's to your health, father." 

"To your better health." 

Afterward he held the glass in his hand and we 
looked at one another. Sometimes we talked and were 
good friends but to-night it was difficult. 

"What's the matter, father? You seem very tired." 

"I am tired but I have no right to be." 


"It's the heat." 

"No. This is only the Spring. I feel very low." 

"You have the war disgust." 

"No. But I hate the war." 

"I don't enjoy it," I said. He shook his head and 
looked out of the window. 

"You do not mind it. You do not see it. You must 
forgive me. I know you are wounded." 

"That is an accident." 

"Still even wounded you do not see it. I can tell. 
I do not see it myself but I feel it a little." 

"When I was wounded we were talking about it. 
Passini was talking." 

The priest put down the glass. He was thinking 
about something else. 

"I know them because I am like they are," he said. 

"You are different though." 

"But really I am like they are." 

"The officers don't see anything." 

"Some of them do. Some are very delicate and feel 
worse than any of us." 

"They are mostly different." 

"It is not education or money. It is something else. 
Even if they had education or money men like Passini 
would not wish to be officers. I would not be an 

"You rank as an officer. I am an officer." 

"I am not really. You are not even an Italian. You 
are a foreigner. But you are nearer the officers than 
you are to the men." 

"What is the difference?" 

"I cannot say it easily. There are people who would 
make war. In this country there are many like that. 
There are other people who would not make war." 


"But the first ones make them do it." 


"And I help them." 

"You are a foreigner. You are a patriot." 

"And the ones who would not make war? Can they 
stop it?" 

"I do not know." 

He looked out of the window again. I watched his 

"Have they ever been able to stop it?" 

"They are not organized to stop things and when 
they get organized their leaders sell them out." 

"Then it's hopeless?" 

"It is never hopeless. But sometimes I cannot hope. 
I try always to hope but sometimes I cannot." 

"Maybe the war will be over." 

"I hope so." 

"What will you do then?" 

"If it is possible I will return to the Abruzzi." 

His brown face was suddenly very happy. 

"You love the Abruzzi !" 

"Yes, I love it very much." 

"You ought to go there then." 

"I would be too happy. If I could live there and 
love God and serve Him." 

"And be respected," I said. 

"Yes and be respected. Why not ?" 

"No reason not. You should be respected." 

"It does not matter. But there in my country it is 
understood that a man may love God. It is not a dirty 

"I understand." 

He looked at me and smiled. 

"You understand but you do not love God." 



"You do not love Him at all?" he asked. 

"I am afraid of him in the night sometimes." 

"You should love Him." 

"I don't love much." 

"Yes," he said. "You do. What you tell me about 
in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion 
and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. 
You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." 

"I don't love." 

"You will. I know you will. Then you will be 

"I'm happy. I've always been happy." 

"It is another thing. You cannot know about it un- 
less you have it." 

"Well," I said. "If I ever get it I will tell you." 

"I stay too long and talk too much." He was wor- 
ried that he really did. 

"No. Don't go. How about loving women? If I 
really loved some woman would it be like that?" 

"I don't know about that. I never loved any woman." 

"What about your mother?" 

"Yes, I must have loved my mother." 

"Did you always love God?" 

"Ever since I was a little boy." 

"Well," I said. I did not know what to say. "You 
are a fine boy," I said. 

"I am a boy," he said. "But you call me father." 

"That's politeness." 

He smiled. 

"I must go, really," he said. "You do not want me 
for anything?" he asked hopefully. 

"No. Just to talk." 

"I will take your greetings to the mess." 


'Thank you for the many fine presents." 


"Come and see me again." 

"Yes. Good-by," he patted my hand. 

"So long," I said in dialect. 

"Ciaou," he repeated. 

It was dark in the room and the orderly, who had sat 
by the foot of the bed, got up and went out with him. 
I liked him very much and I hoped he would get back 
to the Abruzzi some time. He had a rotten life in the 
mess and he was fine about it but I thought how he 
would be in his own country. At Capracotta, he had 
told me, there were trout in the stream below the town. 
It was forbidden to play the flute at night. When the 
young men serenaded only the flute was forbidden. 
Why, I had asked. Because it was bad for the girls to 
hear the flute at night. The peasants all called you 
"Don" and when you met them they took off their hats. 
His father hunted every day and stopped to eat at the 
houses of peasants. They were always honored. For a 
foreigner to hunt he must present a certificate that he 
had never been arrested. There were bears on the Gran 
Sasso D'ltalia but it was a long way. Aquila was a 
fine town. It was cool in the summer at night and the 
spring in Abruzzi was the most beautiful in Italy. But 
what was lovely was the fall to go hunting through the 
chestnut woods. The birds were all good because they 
fed on grapes and you never took a lunch because the 
peasants were always honored if you would eat with 
them at their houses. After a while I went to sleep. 


The room was long with windows on the right-hand 
side and a door at the far end that went into the dress- 
ing room. The row of beds that mine was in faced the 
windows and another row, under the windows, faced 
the wall. If you lay on your left side you could see the 
dressing-room door. There was another door at the far 
end that people sometimes came in by. If any one were 
going to die they put a screen around the bed so you 
could not see them die, but only the shoes and puttees 
of doctors and men nurses showed under the bottom of 
the screen and sometimes at the end there would be 
whispering. Then the priest would come out from be- 
hind the screen and afterward the men nurses would go 
back behind the screen to come out again carrying the 
one who was dead with a blanket over him down the 
corridor between the beds and some one folded the 
screen and took it away. 

That morning the major in charge of the ward asked 
me if I felt that I could travel the next day. I said I 
could. He said then they would ship me out early in 
the morning. He said I would be better off making the 
trip now before it got too hot. 

When they lifted you up out of bed to carry you into 
the dressing room you could look out of the window 
and see the new graves in the garden. A soldier sat out- 
side the door that opened onto the garden making 
crosses and painting on them the names, rank, and regi- 
ment of the men who were buried in the garden. He 
also ran errands for the ward and in his spare time 
made me a cigarette lighter out of an empty Austrian 



rifle cartridge. The doctors were very nice and seemed 
very capable. They were anxious to ship me to Milan 
where there were better X-ray facilities and where, af- 
ter the operation, I could take mechanotherapy. I 
wanted to go to Milan too. They wanted to get us all 
out and back as far as possible because all the beds were 
needed for the offensive, when it should start 

The night before I left the field hospital Rinaldi came 
in to see me with the major from our mess. They said 
that I would go to an American hospital in Milan that 
had just been installed. Some American ambulance 
units were to be sent down and this hospital would look 
after them and any other Americans on service in Italy. 
There were many in the Red Cross. The States had de- 
clared war on Germany but not on Austria. 

The Italians were sure America would declare war on 
Austria too and they were very excited about any 
Americans coming down, even the Red Cross. They 
asked me if I thought President Wilson would declare 
war on Austria and I said it was only a matter of days. 
I did not know what we had against Austria but it 
seemed logical that they should declare war on her if 
they did on Germany. They asked me if we would 
declare war on Turkey. I said that was doubtful. 
Turkey, I said, was our national bird but the joke trans- 
lated so badly and they were so puzzled and suspicious 
that I said yes, we would probably declare war on Tur- 
key. And on Bulgaria? We had drunk several glasses 
of brandy and I said yes by God on Bulgaria too and on 
Japan. But, they said, Japan is an ally of England. 
You can't trust the bloody English. The Japanese want 
Hawaii, I said. Where is Hawaii ? It is in the Pacific 
Ocean. Why do the Japanese want it ? They don't real- 
ly want it, I said. That is all talk. The Japanese are a 


wonderful little people fond of dancing and light wines. 
Like the French, said the major. We will get Nice and 
Savoia from the French. We will get Corsica and all 
the Adriatic coast-line, Rinaldi said. Italy will return 
to the splendors of Rome, said the major. I don't like 
Rome, I said. It is hot and full of fleas. You don't 
like Rome ? Yes, I love Rome. Rome is the mother of 
nations. I will never forget Romulus suckling the 
Tiber. What ? Nothing. Let's all go to Rome. Let's 
go to Rome to-night and never come back. Rome is a 
beautiful city, said the major. The mother and father 
of nations, I said. Roma is feminine, said Rinaldi. It 
cannot be the father. Who is the father, then, the Holy 
Ghost ? Don't blaspheme. I wasn't blaspheming, I was 
asking for information. You are drunk, baby. Who 
made me drunk? I made you drunk, said the major. 
I made you drunk because I love you and because 
America is in the war. Up to the hilt, I said. You go 
away in the morning, baby, Rinaldi said. To Rome, I 
said. No, to Milan. To Milan, said the major, to the 
Crystal Palace, to the Cova, to Campari's, to Biffi's, to 
the galleria. You lucky boy. To the Gran Italia I said, 
where I will borrow money from George. To the Scala, 
said Rinaldi. You will go to the Scala. Every night, 
I said. You won't be able to afford it every night, said 
the major. 

The tickets are very expensive. I will draw a sight 
draft on my grandfather, I said. A what? A sight 
draft. He has to pay or I go to jail. Mr. Cunningham 
at the bank does it. I live by sight drafts. Can a grand- 
father jail a patriotic grandson who is dying that Italy 
may live ? Live the American Garibaldi, said Rinaldi. 
Viva the sight drafts, I said. We must be quiet, said 
the major. Already we have been asked many times to 


be quiet. Do you go to-morrow really, Federico ? He 
goes to the American hospital I tell you, Rinaldi said. 
To the beautiful nurses. Not the nurses with beards 
of the field hospital. Yes, yes, said the major, I know 
he goes to the American hospital. I don't mind their 
beards, I said. If any man wants to raise a beard let 
him. Why don't you raise a beard, Signor Maggiore? 
It could not go in a gas mask. Yes it could. Anything 
can go in a gas mask. I've vomited into a gas mask. 
Don't be so loud, baby, Rinaldi said. We all know you 
have been at the front. Oh, you fine baby, what will I 
do while you are gone? We must go, said the major. 
This becomes sentimental. Listen, I have a surprise for 
you. Your English. You know? The English you go 
to see every night at their hospital? She is going to 
Milan too. She goes with another to be at the Ameri- 
can hospital. They had not got nurses yet from Amer- 
ica. I talked to-day with the head of their riparto. 
They have too many women here at the front. They 
send some back. How do you like that, baby? All 
right. Yes ? You go to live in a big city and have your 
English there to cuddle you. Why don't I get wounded ? 
Maybe you will, I said. We must go, said the major. 
We drink and make noise and disturb Federico. Don't 
go. Yes, we must go. Good-by. Good luck. Many 
things. Ciaou. Ciaou. Ciaou. Come back quickly, 
baby. Rinaldi kissed me. You smell of lysol. Good- 
by, baby. Good-by. Many things. The major patted 
my shoulder. They tiptoed out. I found I was quite 
drunk but went to sleep. 

The next day in the morning we left for Milan and 
arrived forty-eight hours later. It was a bad trip. We 
were sidetracked for a long time this side of Mestre 


and children came and peeked in. I got a little boy to 
go for a bottle of cognac but he came back and said he 
could only get grappa. I told him to get it and when it 
came I gave him the change and the man beside me and 
I got drunk and slept until past Vicenza where I woke 
up and was very sick on the floor. It did not matter 
because the man on that side had been very sick on the 
floor several times before. Afterward I thought I could 
not stand the thirst and in the yards outside of Verona 
I called to a soldier who was walking up and down 
beside the train and he got me a drink of water. I 
woke Georgetti, the other boy who was drunk, and of- 
fered him some water. He said to pour it on his shoul- 
der and went back to sleep. The soldier would not take 
the penny I offered him and brought me a pulpy orange. 
I sucked on that and spit out the pith and watched the 
soldier pass up and down past a freight-car outside and 
after a while the train gave a jerk and started. 



We got into Milan early in the morning and they 
unloaded us in the freight yard. An ambulance took 
me to the American hospital. Riding in the ambulance 
on a stretcher I could not tell what part of town we 
were passing through but when they unloaded the 
stretcher I saw a market-place and an open wine shop 
with a girl sweeping out. They were watering the 
street and it smelled of the early morning. They put 
the stretcher down and went in. The porter came out 
with them. He had gray mustaches, wore a doorman's 
cap and was in his shirt sleeves. The stretcher would 
not go into the elevator and they discussed whether it 
was better to lift me off the stretcher and go up in the 
elevator or carry the stretcher up the stairs. I listened 
to them discussing it. They decided on the elevator. 
They lifted me from the stretcher. "Go easy," I said. 
"Take it softly." 

In the elevator we were crowded and as my legs bent 
the pain was very bad. "Straighten out the legs," I 

"We can't, Signor Tenente. There isn't room." The 
man who said this had his arm around me and my arm 
was around his neck. His breath came in my face me- 
tallic with garlic and red wine. 

"Be gentle," the other man said. 

"Son of a bitch who isn't gentle !" 

"Be gentle I say," the man with my feet repeated. 

I saw the doors of the elevator closed, and the grill 
shut and the fourth-floor button pushed by the porter. 



The porter looked worried. The elevator rose slowly. 

"Heavy?" I asked the man with the garlic. 

"Nothing," he said. His face was sweating and he 
grunted. The elevator rose steadily and stopped. The 
man holding the feet opened the door and stepped out. 
We were on a balcony. There were several doors with 
brass knobs. The man carrying the feet pushed a but- 
ton that rang a bell. We heard it inside the doors. No 
one came. Then the porter came up the stairs. 

"Where are they?" the stretcher-bearers asked. 

"I don't know," said the porter. "They sleep down 

"Get somebody." 

The porter rang the bell, then knocked on the door, 
then he opened the door and went in. When he came 
back there was an elderly woman wearing glasses with 
him. Her hair was loose and half- falling and she wore 
a nurse's dress. 

"I can't understand," she said. "I can't understand 

"I can speak English," I said. "They want to put me 

"None of the rooms are ready. There isn't any pa- 
tient expected." She tucked at her hair and looked at 
me near-sightedly. 

"Show them any room where they can put me." 

"I don't know," she said. "There's no patient ex- 
pected. I couldn't put you in just any room." 

"Any room will do," I said. Then to the porter in 
Italian, "Find an empty room." 

"They are all empty," said the porter. "You are the 
first patient." He held his cap in his hand and looked 
at the elderly nurse. 

"For Christ's sweet sake take me to some room." 


The pain had gone on and 99 with the legs bent and I 
could feel it going in and out of the bone. The porter 
went in the door, followed by the gray-haired woman, 
then came hurrying back. "Follow me," he said. They 
carried me down a long hallway and into a room with 
drawn blinds. It smelled of new furniture. There was 
a bed and a big wardrobe with a mirror. They laid me 
down on the bed. 

"I can't put on sheets/' the woman said. "The sheets 
are locked up." 

I did not speak to her. "There is money in my 
pocket," I said to the porter. "In the buttoned-down 
pocket." The porter took out the money. The two 
stretcher-bearers stood beside the bed holding their 
caps. "Give them five lire apiece and five lire for your- 
self. My papers are in the other pocket You may give 
them to the nurse." 

The stretcher-bearers saluted and said thank you. 
"Good-by," I said. "And many thanks." They saluted 
again and went out. 

"Those papers," I said to the nurse, "describe my 
case and the treatment already given." 

The woman picked them up and looked at them 
through her glasses. There were three papers and they 
were folded. "I don't know what to do," she said. "I 
can't read Italian. I can't do anything without the 
doctor's orders." She commenced to cry and put the 
papers in her apron pocket. "Are you an American?" 
she asked crying. 

"Yes. Please put the papers on the table by the bed." 

It was dim and cool in the room. As I lay on the 
bed I could see the big mirror on the other side of the 
room but could not see what it reflected. The porter 
stood by the bed. He had a nice face and was very 


"You can go," I said to him. "You can go too," I 
said to the nurse. "What is your name?" 

"Mrs. Walker." 

"You can go, Mrs. Walker. I think I will go to 

I was alone in the room. It was cool and did not 
smell like a hospital. The mattress was firm and com- 
fortable and I lay without moving, hardly breathing, 
happy in feeling the pain lessen. After a while I wanted 
a drink of water and found the bell on a cord by the 
bed and rang it but nobody came. I went to sleep. 

When I woke I looked around. There was sunlight 
coming in through the shutters. I saw the big armoire, 
the bare walls, and two chairs. My legs in the dirty 
bandages, stuck straight out in the bed. I was careful 
not to move them. I was thirsty and I reached for the 
bell and pushed the button. I heard the door open and 
looked and it was a nurse. She looked young and 

"Good-morning," I said. 

"Good-morning," she said and came over to the bed. 
"We haven't been able to get the doctor. He's gone to 
Lake Como. No one knew there was a patient coming. 
What's wrong with you anyway?" 

"I'm wounded. In the legs and feet and my head 
is hurt." 

"What's your name?" 

"Henry. Frederic Henry." 

"I'll wash you up. But we can't do anything to the 
dressings until the doctor comes." 

"Is Miss Barkley here?" 

"No. There's no one by that name here." 

"Who was the woman who cried when I came in?" 

The nurse laughed. "That's Mrs. Walker. She was 


on night duty and she'd been asleep. She wasn't ex- 
pecting any one." 

While we were talking she was undressing me, and 
when I was undressed, except for the bandages, she 
washed me, very gently and smoothly. The washing 
felt very good. There was a bandage on my head but 
she washed all around the edge. 

"Where were you wounded?" 

"On the Isonzo north of Plava." 

"Where is that?" 

"North of Gorizia." 

I could see that none of the places meant anything 
to her. 

"Do you have a lot of pain?" 

"No. Not much now." 

She put a thermometer in my mouth. 

"The Italians put it under the arm," I said. 

"Don't talk." 

When she took the thermometer out she read it and 
then shook it. 

"What's the temperature?" 

"You're not supposed to know that" 

"Tell me what it is." 

"It's almost normal." 

"I never have any fever. My legs are full of old iron 

"What do you mean?" 

"They're full of trench-mortar fragments, old screws 
and bed-springs and things." 

She shook her head and smiled. 

"If you had any foreign bodies in your legs they 
would set up an inflammation and you'd have fever." 

"All right," I said. "We'll see what €omes out." 

She went out of the room and came back with the 


old nurse of the early morning. Together they made 
the bed with me in it. That was new to me and an 
admirable proceeding. 

"Who is in charge here?" 

"Miss Van Campen." 

"How many nurses are there?" 

"Just us two." 

"Won't there be more?" 

"Some more are coming." 

"When will they get here?" 

"I don't know. You ask a great many questions for 
a sick boy." 

"I'm not sick," I said, "I'm wounded." 

They had finished making the bed and I lay with a 
clean smooth sheet under me and another sheet over 
me. Mrs. Walker went out and came back with a 
pajama jacket. They put that on me and I felt very 
clean and dressed. 

"You're awfully nice to me," I said. The nurse 
called Miss Gage giggled. "Could I have a drink of 
water?" I asked. 

"Certainly. Then you can have breakfast." 

"I don't want breakfast. Can I have the shutters 
opened please?" 

The light had been dim in the room and when the 
shutters were opened it was bright sunlight and I 
looked out on a balcony and beyond were the tile roofs 
of houses and chimneys. I looked out over the tiled 
roofs and saw white clouds and the sky very blue. 

"Don't you know when the other nurses are com- 

"Why? Don't we take good care of you?" 

"You're very nice." 

"Would you like to use the bedpan?" 


"I might try." 

They helped me and held me up but it was not any 
use. Afterward I lay and looked out the open doors 
onto the balcony. 

"When does the doctor come?" 

"When he gets back. We've tried to telephone to 
Lake Como for him." 

"Aren't there any other doctors?" 

"He's the doctor for the hospital." 

Miss Gage brought a pitcher of water and a glass. I 
drank three glasses and then they left me and I looked 
out the window a while and went back to sleep. I ate 
some lunch and in the afternoon Miss Van Campen, 
the superintendent, came up to see me. She did not 
like me and I did not like her. She was small and 
neatly suspicious and too good for her position. She 
asked many questions and seemed to think it was some- 
what disgraceful that I was with the Italians. 

"Can I have wine with the meals?" I asked her. 

"Only if the doctor prescribes it." 

"I can't have it until he comes?" 

"Absolutely not." 

"You plan on having him come eventually?" 

"We've telephoned him at Lake Como." 

She went out and Miss Gage came back. 

"Why were you rude to Miss Van Campen?" she 
asked after she had done something for me very skil- 

"I didn't mean to be. But she was snooty." 

"She said you were domineering and rude." 

"I wasn't. But what's the idea of a hospital with- 
out a doctor?" 

"He's coming. They've telephoned for him to Lake 


"What does he do there? Swim?" 
"No. He has a clinic there." 
"Why don't they get another doctor?" 
"Hush. Hush. Be a good boy and he'll come." 
I sent for the porter and when he came I told him in 
Italian to get me a bottle of Cinzano at the wine shop, 
a fiasco of chianti and the evening papers. He went 
away and brought them wrapped in newspaper, un- 
wrapped them and, when I asked him to, drew the corks 
and put the wine and vermouth under the bed. They 
left me alone and I lay in bed and read the papers 
awhile, the news from the front, and the list of dead 
officers with their decorations and then reached down 
and brought up the bottle of Cinzano and held it 
straight up on my stomach, the cool glass against my 
stomach, and took little drinks making rings on my 
stomach from holding the bottle there between drinks, 
and watched it get dark outside over the roofs of the 
town. The swallows circled around and I watched them 
and the night-hawks flying above the roofs and drank 
the Cinzano. Miss Gage brought up a glass with some 
egg-nog in it. I lowered the vermouth bottle to the 
other side of the bed when she came in. 

"Miss Van Campen had some sherry put in this," 
she said. "You shouldn't be rude to her. She's not 
young and this hospital is a big responsibility for her. 
Mrs. Walker's too old and she's no use to her." 

"She's a splendid woman," I said. "Thank her very 

"I'm going to bring your supper right away." 
"That's all right," I said. "I'm not hungry." 
When she brought the tray and put it on the bed 
table I thanked her and ate a little of the supper. After- 
ward it was dark outside and I could see the beams of 


the search-lights moving in the sky. I watched for a 
while and then went to sleep. I slept heavily except 
once I woke sweating and scared and then went back 
to sleep trying to stay outside of my dream. I woke 
for good long before it was light and heard roosters 
crowing and stayed on awake until it began to be light. 
I was tired and once it was really light I went back to 
sleep again. 


It was bright sunlight in the room when I woke. I 
thought I was back at the front and stretched out in 
bed. My legs hurt me and I looked down at them still 
in the dirty bandages, and seeing them knew where I 
was. I reached up for the bell-cord and pushed the 
button. I heard it buzz down the hall and then some 
one coming on rubber soles along the hall. It was Miss 
Gage and she looked a little older in the bright sun- 
light and not so pretty. 

"Good morning," she said. "Did you have a good 
night ?" 

"Yes. Thanks very much," I said. "Can I have a 

"I came in to see you and you were asleep with this 
in the bed with you." 

She opened the armoire door and held up the ver- 
mouth bottle. It was nearly empty. "I put the other 
bottle from under the bed in there too," she said. 
"Why didn't you ask me for a glass?" 

"I thought maybe you wouldn't let me have it." 

"I'd have had some with you." 

"You're a fine girl." 

"It isn't good for you to drink alone," she said. 
"You mustn't do it." 

"All right." 

"Your friend Miss Barkley's come," she said. 


"Yes. I don't like her." 

"You will like her. She's awfully nice." 


She shook her head. "I'm sure she's fine. Can you 
move just a little to this side? That's fine. I'll clean 
you up for breakfast." She washed me with a cloth 
and soap and warm water. "Hold your shoulder up," 
she said. "That's fine." 

"Can I have the barber before breakfast?" 

"I'll send the porter for him." She went out and 
came back. "He's gone for him," she said and dipped 
the cloth she held in the basin of water. 

The barber came with the porter. He was a man of 
about fifty with an upturned mustache. Miss Gage 
was finished with me and went out and the barber 
lathered my face and shaved. He was very solemn and 
refrained from talking. 

"What's the matter ? Don't you know any news ?" I 

"What news?" 

"Any news. What's happened in the town?" 

"It is time of war," he said. "The enemy's ears are 

I looked up at him. "Please hold your face still," he 
said and went on shaving. "I will tell nothing." 

"What's the matter with you?" I asked. 

"I am an Italian. I will not communicate with the 

I let it go at that. If he was crazy, the sooner I could 
get out from under the razor the better. Once I tried 
to get a good look at him. "Beware," he said. "The 
razor is sharp." 

I paid him when it was over and tipped him half a 
lira. He returned the coins. 

"I will not I am not at the front. But I am an 

"Get the hell out of here." 


"With your permission," he said and wrapped his 
razors in newspaper. He went out leaving the five 
copper coins on the table beside the bed. I rang the 
bell. Miss Gage came in. "Would you ask the porter 
to come please?" 

"All right." 

The porter came in. He was trying to keep from 

"Is that barber crazy?" 

"No, signorino. He made a mistake. He doesn't 
understand very well and he thought I said you were 
an Austrian officer." 

"Oh," I said. 

"Ho ho ho," the porter laughed. "He was funny. 
One move from you he said and he would have — " he 
drew his forefinger across his throat. 

"Ho ho ho," he tried to keep from laughing. 
"When I tell him you were not an Austrian. Ho ho 

"Ho ho ho," I said bitterly. "How funny if he 
would cut my throat. Ho ho ho." 

"No, signorino. No, no. He was so frightened of 
an Austrian. Ho ho ho." 

"Ho ho ho," I said. "Get out of here." 

He went out and I heard him laughing in the hall. 
I heard some one coming down the hallway. I looked 
toward the door. It was Catherine Barkley. 

She came in the room and over to the bed. 

"Hello, darling," she said. She looked fresh and 
young and very beautiful. I thought I had never seen 
any one so beautiful. 

"Hello," I said. When I saw her I was in love with 
her. Everything turned over inside of me. She 
looked toward the door, saw there was no one, then she 


sat on the side of the bed and leaned over and kissed 
me. I pulled her down and kissed her and felt her 
heart beating. 

"You sweet," I said. "Weren't you wonderful to 
come here?" 

"It wasn't very hard. It may be hard to stay." 
"You've got to stay," I said. "Oh, you're wonder- 
ful." I was crazy about her. I could not believe she 
was really there and held her tight to me. 

"You mustn't," she said. "You're not well enough." 

"Yes, I am. Come on." 

"No. You're not strong enough." 

"Yes. I am. Yes. Please." 

"You do love me?" 

"I really love you. I'm crazy about you. Come on 

"Feel our hearts beating." 

"I don't care about our hearts. I want you. I'm 
just mad about you." 

"You really love me?" 

"Don't keep on saying that. Come on. Please. 
Please, Catherine." 

"All right but only for a minute." 

"All right," I said. "Shut the door." 

"You can't. You shouldn't." 

"Come on. Don't talk. Please come on." 

Catherine sat in a chair by the bed. The door was 

open into the hall. The wildness was gone and I felt 

finer than I had ever felt. 

She asked, "Now do you believe I love you ?" 
"Oh, you're lovely," I said. "You've got to stay. 

They can't send you away. I'm crazy in love with 



"We'll have to be awfully careful. That was just 
madness. We can't do that." 

"We can at night." 

"We'll have to be awfully careful. You'll have to be 
careful in front of other people." 

"I will." 

"You'll have to be. You're sweet. You do love me, 
don't you?" 

"Don't say that again. You don't know what that 
does to me." 

"I'll be careful then. I don't want to do anything 
more to you. I have to go now, darling, really." 

"Come back right away." 

"I'll come when I can." 


"Good-by, sweet." 

She went out. God knows I had not wanted to fall 
in love with her. I had not wanted to fall in love with 
any one. But God knows I had and I lay on the bed 
in the room of the hospital in Milan and all sorts of 
things went through my head but I felt wonderful and 
finally Miss Gage came in. 

"The doctor's coming," she said. "He telephoned 
from Lake Como." 

"When does he get here?" 

"He'll be here this afternoon." 


Nothing happened until afternoon. The doctor 
was a thin quiet little man who seemed disturbed by 
the war. He took out a number of small steel splinters 
from my thighs with delicate and refined distaste. He 
used a local anaesthetic called something or other "snow," 
which froze the tissue and avoided pain until the probe, 
the scalpel or the forceps got below the frozen portion. 
The anaesthetized area was clearly defined by the pa- 
tient and after a time the doctor's fragile delicacy was 
exhausted and he said it would be better to have an 
X-ray. Probing was unsatisfactory, he said. 

The X-ray was taken at the Ospedale Maggiore and 
the doctor who did it was excitable, efficient and cheer- 
ful. It was arranged by holding up the shoulders, that 
the patient should see personally some of the larger 
foreign bodies through the machine. The plates were 
to be sent over. The doctor requested me to write in 
his pocket notebook, my name, and regiment and some 
sentiment. He declared that the foreign bodies were 
ugly, nasty, brutal. The Austrians were sons of bitches. 
How many had I killed? I had not killed any but I 
was anxious to please — and I said I had killed plenty. 
Miss Gage was with me and the doctor put his arm 
around her and said she was more beautiful than Cleo- 
patra. Did she understand that? Cleopatra the for- 
mer queen of Egypt. Yes, by God she was. We re- 
turned to the little hospital in the ambulance and after 
a while and much lifting I was upstairs and in bed 
again. The plates came that afternoon, the doctor had 
said by God he would have them that afternoon and he 


did. Catherine Barkley showed them to me. They 
were in red envelopes and she took them out of the en- 
velopes and held them up to the light and we both 

"That's your right leg," she said, then put the plate 
back in the envelope. "This is your left." 

"Put them away," I said, "and come over to the 

"I can't," she said. "I just brought them in for a 
second to show you." 

She went out and I lay there. It was a hot after- 
noon and I was sick of lying in bed. I sent the porter 
for the papers, all the papers he could get. 

Before he came back three doctors came into the room. 
I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of 
medicine have a tendency to seek one another's com- 
pany and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot 
take out your appendix properly will recommend to 
you a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils 
with success. These were three such doctors. 

"This is the young man," said the house doctor with 
the delicate hands. 

"How do you do?" said the tall gaunt doctor with 
the beard. The third doctor, who carried the X-ray 
plates in their red envelopes, said nothing. 

"Remove the dressings?" questioned the bearded 

"Certainly. Remove the dressings, please, nurse," 
the house doctor said to Miss Gage. Miss Gage re- 
moved the dressings. I looked down at the legs. At 
the field hospital they had the look of not too freshly 
ground hamburger steak. Now they were crusted and 
the knee was swollen and discolored and the calf 
sunken but there was no pus. 


"Very clean/' said the house doctor. "Very clean 
and nice." 

"Urn," said the doctor with the beard. The third 
doctor looked over the house doctor's shoulder. 

"Please move the knee," said the bearded doctor. 

"I can't." 

"Test the articulation?" the bearded doctor ques- 
tioned. He had a stripe beside the three stars on his 
sleeve. That meant he was a first captain. 

"Certainly," the house doctor said. Two of them 
took hold of my right leg very gingerly and bent it. 

"That hurts," I said. 

"Yes. Yes. A little further, doctor." 

"That's enough. That's as far as it goes," I said. 

"Partial articulation," said the first captain. He 
straightened up. "May I see the plates again, please, 
doctor?" The third doctor handed him one of the 
plates. "No. The left leg, please." 

"That is the left leg, doctor." 

"You are right. I was looking from a different an- 
gle." He returned the plate. The other plate he exam- 
ined for some time. "You see, doctor?" he pointed to 
one of the foreign bodies which showed spherical and 
clear against the light. They examined the plate for 
some time. 

"Only one thing I can say," the first captain with the 
beard said. "It is a question of time. Three months, 
six months probably." 

"Certainly the synovial fluid must re-form." 

"Certainly. It is a question of time. I could not 
conscientiously open a knee like that before the projec- 
tile was encysted." 

"I agree with you, doctor." 

"Six months for what?" I asked. 


"Six months for the projectile to encyst before the 
knee can be opened safely." 

"I don't believe it," I said. 

"Do you want to keep your knee, young man?" 

"No," I said. 


"I want it cut off," I said, "so I can wear a hook on 

"What do you mean? A hook?" 

"He is joking," said the house doctor. He patted 
my shoulder very delicately. "He wants to keep his 
knee. This is a very brave young man. He has been 
proposed for the silver medal of valor." 

"All my felicitations," said the first captain. He 
shook my hand. "I can only say that to be on the safe 
side you should wait at least six months before open- 
ing such a knee. You are welcome of course to an- 
other opinion." 

"Thank you very much," I said. "I value your 

The first captain looked at his watch. 

"We must go," he said. "All my best wishes." 

"All my best wishes and many thanks," I said. I 
shook hands with the third doctor, "Capitano Varini — 
Tenente Enry," and they all three went out of the room. 

"Miss Gage," I called. She came in. "Please ask 
the house doctor to come back a minute." 

He came in holding his cap and stood by the bed. 
"Did you wish to see me?" 

"Yes. I can't wait six months to be operated on. 
My God, doctor, did you ever stay in bed six months?" 

"You won't be in bed all the time. You must first 
have the wounds exposed to the sun. Then afterward 
you can be on crutches." 


"For six months and then have an operation?''' 

"That is the safe way. The foreign bodies must be 
allowed to encyst and the synovial fluid will re-form. 
Then it will be safe to open up the knee." 

"Do you really think yourself I will have to wait 
that long?" 

"That is the safe way." 

"Who is that first captain?" 

"He is a very excellent surgeon of Milan." 

"He's a first captain, isn't he?" 

"Yes, but he is an excellent surgeon." 

"I don't want my leg fooled with by a first captain. 
If he was any good he would be made a major. I 
know what a first captain is, doctor." 

"He is an excellent surgeon and I would rather have 
his judgment than any surgeon I know." 

"Could another surgeon see it?" 

"Certainly if you wish. But I would take Dr. Va- 
rella's opinion myself." 

"Could you ask another surgeon to come and see 

"I will ask Valentini to come." 

"Who is he?" 

"He is a surgeon of the Ospedale Maggiore." 

"Good. I appreciate it very much. You understand, 
doctor, I couldn't stay in bed six months." 

"You would not be in bed. You would first take a 
sun cure. Then you could have light exercise. Then 
when it was encysted we would operate." 

"But I can't wait six months." 

The doctor spread his delicate fingers on the cap he 
held and smiled. "You are in such a hurry to get back 
to the front?" 

"Why not?" 


"It is very beautiful," he said. "You are a noble 
young man." He stooped over and kissed me very del- 
icately on the forehead. "I will send for Valentini. 
Do not worry and excite yourself. Be a good boy." 

"Will you have a drink?" I asked. 

"No thank you. I never drink alcohol." 

"Just have one." I rang for the porter to bring 

"No. No thank you. They are waiting for me." 

"Good-by," I said. 


Two hours later Dr. Valentini came into the room. 
He was in a great hurry and the points of his mustache 
stood straight up. He was a major, his face was 
tanned and he laughed all the time. 

"How did you do it, this rotten thing?" he asked. 
"Let me see the plates. Yes. Yes. That's it. You look 
healthy as a goat. Who's the pretty girl? Is she your 
girl? I thought so. Isn't this a bloody war? How 
does that feel ? You are a fine boy. I'll make you bet- 
ter than new. Does that hurt? You bet it hurts. 
How they love to hurt you, these doctors. What have 
they done for you so far ? Can't that girl talk Italian ? 
She should learn. What a lovely girl. I could teach 
her. I will be a patient here myself. No, but I will do 
all your maternity work free. Does she understand 
that ? She will make you a fine boy. A fine blonde like 
she is. That's fine. That's all right. What a lovely 
girl. Ask her if she eats supper with me. No I won't 
take her away from you. Thank you. Thank you very 
much, Miss. That's all." 

"That's all I want to know." He patted me on the 
shoulder. "Leave the dressings off." 


" Will you have a drink, Dr. Valentini ?" 
"A drink? Certainly. I will have ten drinks. 
Where are they?" 

"In the armoire. Miss Barkley will get the bottle." 
"Cheery oh. Cheery oh to you, Miss. What a 
lovely girl. I will bring you better cognac than that." 
He wiped his mustache. 

"When do you think it can be operated on?" 
"To-morrow morning. Not before. Your stomach 
must be emptied. You must be washed out. I will see 
the old lady downstairs and leave instructions. Good- 
by. I see you to-morrow. I'll bring you better cognac 
than that. You are very comfortable here. Good-by. 
Until to-morrow. Get a good sleep. I'll see you 
early." He waved from the doorway, his mustaches 
went straight up, his brown face was smiling. There 
was a star in a box on his sleeve because he was a 


That night a bat flew into the room through the 
open door that led onto the balcony and through which 
we watched the night over the roofs of the town. It 
was dark in our room except for the small light of the 
night over the town and the bat was not frightened but 
hunted in the room as though he had been outside. We 
lay and watched him and I do not think he saw us be- 
cause we lay so still. After he went out we saw a 
searchlight come on and watched the beam move across 
the sky and then go off and it was dark again. A 
breeze came in the night and we heard the men of the 
anti-aircraft gun on the next roof talking. It was cool 
and they were putting on their capes. I worried in 
the night about some one coming up but Catherine said 
they were all asleep. Once in the night we went to 
sleep and when I woke she was not there but I heard 
her coming along the hall and the door opened and she 
came back to the bed and said it was all right she had 
been downstairs and they were all asleep. She had 
been outside Miss Van Campen's door and heard her 
breathing in her sleep. She brought crackers and we 
ate them and drank some vermouth. We were very 
hungry but she said that would all have to be gotten 
out of me in the morning. I went to sleep again in the 
morning when it was light and when I was awake I 
found she was gone again. She came in looking fresh 
and lovely and sat on the bed and the sun rose while I 
had the thermometer in my mouth and we smelled the 
dew on the roofs and then the coffee of the men at the 
gun on the next roof. 



"I wish we could go for a walk," Catherine said. 
"I'd wheel you if we had a chair." 

"How would I get into the chair?" 

"We'd do it." 

"We could go out to the park and have breakfast 
outdoors." I looked out the open doorway. 

"What we'll really do," she said, "is get you ready 
for your friend Dr. Valentini." 

"I thought he was grand." 

"I didn't like him as much as you did. But I imag- 
ine he's very good." 

"Come back to bed, Catherine. Please," I said. 

"I can't. Didn't we have a lovely night?" 

"And can you be on night duty to-night?" 

"I probably will. But you won't want me." 

"Yes, I will." 

"No, you won't. You've never been operated on. 
You don't know how you'll be." 

"I'll be all right." 

"You'll be sick and I won't be anything to you." 

"Come back then now." 

"No," she said. "I have to do the chart, darling, 
and fix you up." 

"You don't really love me or you'd come back 

"You're such a silly boy." She kissed me. "That's 
all right for the chart. Your temperature's always nor- 
mal. You've such a lovely temperature." 

"You've got a lovely everything." 

"Oh no. You have the lovely temperature. I'm aw- 
fully proud of your temperature." 

"Maybeall our children will have fine temperatures." 

"Our children will probably have beastly tempera- 


"What do you have to do to get me ready for Valen- 
tin! ?" 

"Not much. But quite unpleasant." 

"I wish you didn't have to do it." 

"I don't. I don't want any one else to touch you. 
I'm silly. I get furious if they touch you." 

"Even Ferguson?" 

"Especially Ferguson and Gage and the other, 
what's her name?" 


"That's it. They've too many nurses here now. 
There must be some more patients or they'll send us 
away. They have four nurses now." 

"Perhaps there'll be some. They need that many 
nurses. It's quite a big hospital." 

"I hope some will come. What would I do if they 
sent me away? They will unless there are more pa- 

"I'd go too." 

"Don't be silly. You can't go yet. But get well 
quickly, darling, and we will go somewhere." 

"And then what?" 

"Maybe the war will be over. It can't always go 

"I'll get well," I said. "Valentini will fix me." 

"He should with those mustaches. And, darling, 
when you're going under the ether just think about 
something else — not us. Because people get very 
blabby under an anaesthetic." 

"What should I think about?" 

"Anything. Anything but us. Think about your 
people. Or even any other girl." 



"Say your prayers then. That ought to create a 
splendid impression." 

"Maybe I won't talk." 

"That's true. Often people don't talk." 

"I won't talk." 

"Don't brag, darling. Please don't brag. You're so 
sweet and you don't have to brag." 

"I won't talk a word." 

"Now you're bragging, darling. You know you 
don't need to brag. Just start your prayers or poetry or 
something when they tell you to breathe deeply. You'll 
be lovely that way and I'll be so proud of you. I'm 
very proud of you anyway. You have such a lovely 
temperature and you sleep like a little boy with your 
arm around the pillow and think it's me. Or is it some 
other girl? Some fine Italian girl?" 

"It's you." 

"Of course it's me. Oh I do love you and Valen- 
tini will make you a fine leg. I'm glad I don't have to 
watch it." 

"And you'll be on night duty to-night." 

"Yes. But you won't care." 

"You wait and see." 

"There, darling. Now you're all clean inside and 
out. Tell me. How many people have you ever 


"Not me even?" 

"Yes, you." 

"How many others really?" 


"How many have you — how do you say it? — stayed 



"You're lying to me." 


"It's all right. Keep right on lying to me. That's 
what I want you to do. Were they pretty ?" 

"I never stayed with any one." 

"That's right. Were they very attractive?" 

"I don't know anything about it." 

"You're just mine. That's true and you've never be- 
longed to any one else. But I don't care if you have. 
I'm not afraid of them. But don't tell me about them. 
When a man stays with a girl when does she say how 
much it costs ?" 

"I don't know." 

"Of course not Does she say she loves him? Tell 
me that I want to know that." 

"Yes. If he wants her to." 

"Does he say he loves her ? Tell me please. It's im- 

"He does if he wants to." 

"But you never did ? Really ?" 


"Not really. Tell me the truth?" 

"No," I lied. 

"You wouldn't," she said. "I knew you wouldn't. 
Oh, I love you, darling." 

Outside the sun was up over the roofs and I could 
see the points of the cathedral with the sunlight on 
them. I was clean inside and outside and waiting for 
the doctor. 

"And that's it?" Catherine said. "She says just 
what he wants her to?" 

"Not always." 

"But I will. I'll say just what you wish and I'll do 
what you wish and then you will never want any other 


girls, will you?" She looked at me very happily. "I'll 
do what you want and say what you want and then I'll 
be a great success, won't I?" 


"What would you like me to do now that you're all 

"Come to the bed again." 

"All right. I'll come." 

"Oh, darling, darling, darling," I said. 

"You see," she said. "I do anything you want." 

"You're so lovely." 

"I'm afraid I'm not very good at it yet." 

"You're lovely." 

"I want what you want. There isn't any me any 
more. Just what you want." 

"You sweet." 

"I'm good. Aren't I good? You don't want any 
other girls, do you?" 


"You see? I'm good. I do what you want." 


When I was awake after the operation I had not 
been away. You do not go away. They only choke 
you. It is not like dying it is just a chemical choking 
so you do not feel, and afterward you might as well 
have been drunk except that when you throw up noth- 
ing comes but bile and you do not feel better after- 
ward. I saw sandbags at the end of the bed. They 
were on pipes that came out of the cast. After a while 
I saw Miss Gage and she said, "How is it now?" 

"Better," I said. 

"He did a wonderful job on your knee." 

"How long did it take ?" 

"Two hours and a half." 

"Did I say anything silly?" 

"Not a thing. Don't talk. Just be quiet." 

I was sick and Catherine was right. It did not make 
any difference who was on night duty. 

There were three other patients in the hospital now, 
a thin boy in the Red Cross from Georgia with mala- 
ria, a nice boy, also thin, from New York, with mala- 
ria and jaundice, and a fine boy who had tried to un- 
screw the fuse-cap from a combination shrapnel and 
high explosive shell for a souvenir. This was a shrap- 
nel shell used by the Austrians in the mountains with a 
nose-cap which went on after the burst and exploded 
on contact. 

Catherine Barkley was greatly liked by the nurses 
because she would do night duty indefinitely. She had 
quite a little work with the malaria people, the boy who 



had unscrewed the nose-cap was a friend of ours and 
never rang at night, unless it was necessary but be- 
tween the times of working we were together. I loved 
her very much and she loved me. I slept in the day- 
time and we wrote notes during the day when we were 
awake and sent them by Ferguson. Ferguson was a 
fine girl. I never learned anything about her except 
that she had a brother in the Fifty-Second Division 
and a brother in Mesopotamia and she was very good 
to Catherine Barkley. 

"Will you come to our wedding, Fergy?" I said to 
her once. 

"You'll never get married." 

"We will." 

"No you won't." 

"Why not?" 

"You'll fight before you'll marry." 

"We never fight." 

"You've time yet." 

"We don't fight." 

"You'll die then. Fight or die. That's what people 
do. They don't marry." 

I reached for her hand. "Don't take hold of me," 
she said. "I'm not crying. Maybe you'll be all right 
you two. But watch out you don't get her in trouble. 
You get her in trouble and I'll kill you." 

"I won't get her in trouble." 

"Well watch out then. I hoge you'll be all right. 
You have a good time." 

"We have a fine time." 

"Don't fight then and don't get her into trouble." 
1 won t. 

"Mind you watch out. I don't want her with any of 
these war babies." 


"You're a fine girl, Fergy." 

"I'm not. Don't try to flatter me. How does your 
leg feel?" 


"How is your head?" She touched the top of it 
with her fingers. It was sensitive like a foot that had 
gone to sleep. "It's never bothered me." 

"A bump like that could make you crazy. It never 
bothers you?" 


"You're a lucky young man. Have you the letter 
done? I'm going down." 

"It's here," I said. 

"You ought to ask her not to do night duty for a 
while. She's getting very tired." 

"All right. I will." 

"I want to do it but she won't let me. The others 
are glad to let her have it. You might give her just a 
little rest." 

"All right." 

"Miss Van Campen spoke about you sleeping all the 

"She would." 

"It would be better if you let her stay off nights a 
little while." 

"I want her to." 

"You do not. But if you would make her I'd re- 
spect you for it." 

"I'll make her." 

"I don't believe it." She took the note and went out. 
I rang the bell and in a little while Miss Gage came in. 

"What's the matter?" 

"I just wanted to talk to you. Don't you think Miss 
Barkley ought to go off night duty for a while? She 


looks awfully tired. Why does she stay on so long?" 

Miss Gage looked at me. 

"I'm a friend of yours," she said. "You don't have 
to talk to me like that." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Don't be silly. Was that all you wanted?" 

"Do you want a vermouth?" 

"All right. Then I have to go." She got out the 
bottle from the armoire and brought a glass. 

"You take the glass," I said. 'Til drink out of the 

"Here's to you," said Miss Gage. 

"What did Van Campen say about me sleeping late 
in the mornings?" 

"She just jawed about it. She calls you our priv- 
ileged patient." 

"To hell with her." 

"She isn't mean," Miss Gage said. "She's just old 
and cranky. She never liked you." 


"Well, I do. And I'm your friend. Don't forget 

"You're awfully damned nice." 

"No. I know who you think is nice. But I'm your 
friend. How does your leg feel?" 


"I'll bring some cold mineral water to pour over it. 
It must itch under the cast. It's hot outside." 

"You're awful nice." 

"Does it itch much?" 

"No. It's fine." 

"I'll fix those sandbags better." She leaned over. 
"I'm your friend." 

"I know you are." 


"No you don't. But you will some day." 
Catherine Barkley took three nights off night duty 
and then she came back on again. It was as though we 
met again after each of us had been away on a long 


We had a lovely time that summer. When I could 
go out we rode in a carriage in the park. I remember 
the carriage, the horse going slowly, and up ahead the 
back of the driver with his varnished high hat, and 
Catherine Barkley sitting beside me. If we let our 
hands touch, just the side of my hand touching hers, 
we were excited. Afterward when I could get around 
on crutches we went to dinner at Biffi's or the Gran 
Italia and sat at the tables outside on the floor of the 
galleria. The waiters came in and out and there were 
people going by and candles with shades on the table- 
cloths and after we decided that we liked the Gran 
Italia best, George, the head-waiter, saved us a table. 
He was a fine waiter and we let him order the meal 
while we looked at the people, and the great galleria in 
the dusk, and each other. We drank dry white capri 
iced in a bucket ; although we tried many of the other 
wines, f resa, barbera and the sweet white wines. They 
had no wine waiter because of the war and George 
would smile ashamedly when I asked about wines like 

"If you imagine a country that makes a wine be- 
cause it tastes like strawberries," he said. 

"Why shouldn't it?" Catherine asked. "It sounds 
splendid/ ' 

"You try it, lady," said George, "if you want to. 
But let me bring a little bottle of margaux for the 

"I'll try it too, George." 


"Sir, I can't recommend you to. It doesn't even 
taste like strawberries/' 

"It might," said Catherine. "It would be wonderful 
if it did." 

"I'll bring it," said George, "and when the Lady is 
satisfied I'll take it away." 

It was not much of a wine. As he said, it did not 
even taste like strawberries. We went back to capri. 
One evening I was short of money and George loaned 
me a hundred lire. "That's all right, Tenente," he said. 
"I know how it is. I know how a man gets short. If 
you or the lady need money I've always got money." 

After dinner we walked through the galleria, past 
the other restaurants and the shops with their steel 
shutters down, and stopped at the little place where 
they sold sandwiches ; ham and lettuce sandwiches and 
anchovy sandwiches made of very tiny brown glazed 
rolls and only about as long as your finger. They were 
to eat in the night when we were hungry. Then we got 
into an open carriage outside the galleria in front of 
the cathedral and rode to the hospital. At the door of 
the hospital the porter came out to help w r ith the 
crutches. I paid the driver, and then we rode upstairs 
in the elevator. Catherine got off at the lower floor 
where the nurses lived and I went on up and went 
down the hall on crutches to my room ; sometimes I un- 
dressed and got into bed and sometimes I sat out on the 
balcony with my leg up on another chair and watched 
the swallows over the roofs and waited for Catherine. 
When she came upstairs it was as though she had been 
away on a long trip and I went along the hall with her 
on the crutches and carried the basins and waited out- 
side the doors, or went in with her; it depending on 
whether they were friends of ours or not, and when 


she had done all there was to be done we sat out on the 
balcony outside my room. Afterward I went to bed 
and when they were all asleep and she was sure they 
would not call she came in. I loved to take her hair 
down and she sat on the bed and kept very still, except 
suddenly she would dip down to kiss me while I was 
doing it, and I would take out the pins and lay them 
on the sheet and it would be loose and I would watch 
her while she kept very still and then take out the last 
two pins and it would all come down and she would 
drop her head and we would both be inside of it, and it 
was the feeling of inside a tent or behind a falls. 

She had wonderfully beautiful hair and I would lie 
sometimes and watch her twisting it up in the light that 
came in the open door and it shone even in the night as 
water shines sometimes just before it is really daylight. 
She had a lovely face and body and lovely smooth skin 
too. We would be lying together and I would touch 
her cheeks and her forehead and under her eyes and 
her chin and throat with the tips of my fingers and say, 
"Smooth as piano keys," and she would stroke my chin 
with her finger and say, "Smooth as emery paper and 
very hard on piano keys." 

"Is it rough?" 

"No, darling. I was just making fun of you." 

It was lovely in the nights and if we could only 
touch each other we were happy. Besides all the big 
times we had many small ways of making love and we 
tried putting thoughts in the other one's head while we 
were in different rooms. It seemed to work sometimes 
but that was probably because we were thinking the 
same thing anyway. 

We said to each other that we were married the first 
day she had come to the hospital and we counted 


months from our wedding day. I wanted to be really 
married but Catherine said that if we were they would 
send her away and if we merely started on the for- 
malities they would watch her and would break us up. 
We would have to be married under Italian law and 
the formalities were terrific. I wanted us to be married 
really because I worried about having a child if I 
thought about it, but we pretended to ourselves we were 
married and did not worry much and I suppose I en- 
joyed not being married, really. I know one night we 
talked about it and Catherine said, "But, darling, 
they'd send me away." 

"Maybe they wouldn't." 

"They would. They'd send me home and then we 
would be apart until after the war." 

"I'd come on leave." 

"You couldn't get to Scotland and back on a leave. 
Besides, I won't leave you. What good would it do to 
marry now? We're really married. I couldn't be any 
more married." 

"I only wanted to for you." 

"There isn't any me. I'm you. Don't make up a 
separate me." 

"I thought girls always wanted to be married." 

"They do. But, darling, I am married. I'm married 
to you. Don't I make you a good wife?" 

"You're a lovely wife." 

"You see, darling, I had one experience of waiting 
to be married." 

"I don't want to hear about it." 

"You know I don't love any one but you. You 
shouldn't mind because some one else loved me." 

"I do." 


"You shouldn't be jealous of some one who's dead 
when you have every thing.' ' | 

"No, but I don't want to hear about it." 

"Poor darling. And I know you've been with all 
kinds of girls and it doesn't matter to me." 

"Couldn't we be married privately some way? Then 
if anything happened to me or if you had a child." 

"There's no way to be married except by church or 
state. We are married privately. You see, darling, it 
would mean everything to me if I had any religion. 
But I haven't any religion." 

"You gave me the Saint Anthony." 

"That was for luck. Some one gave it to me." 

"Then nothing worries you?" 

"Only being sent away from you. You're my re- 
ligion. You're all I've got." 

"All right. But I'll marry you the day you say." 

"Don't talk as though you had to make an honest 
woman of me, darling. I'm a very honest woman. You 
can't be ashamed of something if you're only happy 
and proud of it. Aren't you happy?" 

"But you won't ever leave me for some one else." 

"No, darling. I won't ever leave you for some one 
else. I suppose all sorts of dreadful things will happen 
to us. But you don't have to worry about that." 

"I don't. But I love you so much and you did love 
some one else before." 

"And what happened to him?" 

"He died." 

"Yes and if he hadn't I wouldn't have met you. I'm 
not unfaithful, darling. I've plenty of faults but I'm 
very faithful. You'll be sick of me I'll be so faithful." 

"I'll have to go back to the front pretty soon." 

"We won't think about that until you go. You see 


I'm happy, darling, and we have a lovely time. I 
haven't been happy for a long time and when I met you 
perhaps I was nearly crazy. Perhaps I was crazy. But 
now we're happy and we love each other. Do let's 
please just be happy. You are happy, aren't you? Is 
there anything I do you don't like ? Can I do anything 
to please you? Would you like me to take down my 
hair? Do you want to play?" 

"Yes and come to bed." 

"All right. I'll go and see the patients first" 


The summer went that way. I do not remember 
much about the days, except that they were hot and 
that there were many victories in the papers. I was 
very healthy and my legs healed quickly so that it 
was not very long after I was first on crutches be- 
fore I was through with them and walking with a cane. 
Then I started treatments at the Ospedale Maggiore 
for bending the knees, mechanical treatments, baking 
in a box of mirrors with violet rays, massage, and 
baths. I went over there afternoons and afterward 
stopped at the cafe and had a drink and read the papers. 
I did not roam around the town; but wanted to get 
home to the hospital from the cafe. All I wanted was to 
see Catherine. The rest of the time I was glad to kill. 
Mostly I slept in the mornings, and in the afternoons, 
sometimes, I went to the races, and late to the mech- 
anotherapy treatments. Sometimes I stopped in at 
the Anglo-American Club and sat in a deep leather- 
cushioned chair in front of the window and read the 
magazines. They would not let us go out together 
when I was off crutches because it was unseemly for 
a nurse to be seen unchaperoned with a patient who did 
not look as though he needed attendance, so we were 
not together much in the afternoons. Although some- 
times we could go out to dinner if Ferguson went 
along. Miss Van Campen had accepted the status that 
we were great friends because she got a great amount 
of work out of Catherine. She thought Catherine 
came from very good people and that prejudiced her 
in her favor finally. Miss Van Campen admired fam- 



ily very much and came from an excellent family her- 
self. The hospital was quite busy, too, and that kept 
her occupied. It was a hot summer and I knew many 
people in Milan but always was anxious to get back 
home to the hospital as soon as the afternoon was over. 
At the front they were advancing on the Carso, they 
had taken Kuk across from Plava and were taking the 
Bainsizza plateau. The West front did not sound so 
good. It looked as though the war were going on for 
a long time. We were in the war now but I thought it 
would take a year to get any great amount of troops 
over and train them for combat. Next year would be 
a bad year, or a good year maybe. The Italians were 
using up an awful amount of men. I did not see how 
it could go on. Even if they took all the Bainsizza and 
Monte San Gabriele there were plenty of mountains 
beyond for the Austrians. I had seen them. All the 
highest mountains were beyond. On the Carso they 
were going forward but there were marshes and 
swamps down by the sea. Napoleon would have 
whipped the Austrians on the plains. He never would 
have fought them in the mountains. He would have 
let them come down and whipped them around Verona. 
Still nobody was whipping any one on the Western 
front. Perhaps wars weren't won any more. Maybe 
they went on forever. Maybe it was another Hundred 
Years' War. I put the paper back on the rack and left 
the club. I went down the steps carefully and walked 
up the Via Manzoni. Outside the Gran Hotel I met 
old Meyers and his wife getting out of a carriage. They 
were coming back from the races. She was a big- 
busted woman in black satin. He was short and old, 
with a white mustache and walked flat-footed with a 


"How do you do? How do you do?" She shook 
hands. "Hello/' said Meyers. 

"How were the races ?" 

"Fine. They were just lovely. I had three winners." 

"How did you do?" I asked Meyers. 

"All right. I had a winner." 

"I never know how he does," Mrs. Meyers said. 
"He never tells me." 

"I do all right," Meyers said. He was being cordial. 
"You ought to come out." While he talked you had the 
impression that he was not looking at you or that he 
mistook you for some one else. 

"I will," I said. 

"I'm coming up to the hospital to see you," Mrs. 
Meyers said. "I have some things for my boys. You're 
all my boys. You certainly are my dear boys." 

"They'll be glad to see you." 

"Those dear boys. You too. You're one of my 

"I have to get back," I said. 

"You give my love to all those dear boys. I've got 
lots of things to bring. Fve some fine Marsala and 

"Good-by," I said. "They'll be awfully glad to see 

"Good-by," said Meyers. "You come around to the 
galleria. You know where my table is. We're all there 
every afternoon." I went on up the street. I wanted 
to buy something at the Cova to take to Catherine. In- 
side, at the Cova, I bought a box of chocolate and while, 
the girl wrapped it up I walked over to the bar. There 
were a couple of British and some aviators. I had a 
martini alone, paid for it, picked up the box of choco- 
late at the outside counter and walked on home toward 


the hospital. Outside the little bar up the street from 
the Scala there were some people I knew, a vice-con- 
sul, two fellows who studied singing, and Ettore Moretti, 
an Italian from San Francisco who was in the Italian 
army. I had a drink with them. One of the singers 
was named Ralph Simmons, and he was singing under 
the name of Enrico DelCredo. I never knew how well 
he could sing but he was always on the point of some- 
thing very big happening. He was fat and looked 
shopworn around the nose and mouth as though he 
had hay fever. He had come back from singing in 
Piacenza. He had sung Tosca and it had been won- 

"Of course youVe never heard me sing," he said. 

"When will you sing here?" 

'Til be at the Scala in the fall." 

'Til bet they throw the benches at you," Ettore said. 
"Did you hear how they threw the benches at him in 

"It's a damned lie." 

"They threw the benches at him," Ettore said. "I 
was there. I threw six benches myself." 

"You're just a wop from Frisco." 

"He can't pronounce Italian," Ettore said. "Every- 
where he goes they throw the benches at him." 

"Piacenza's the toughest house to sing in the north 
of Italy," the other tenor said. "Believe me that's a 
tough little house to sing." This tenor's name was Ed- 
gar Saunders, and he sang under the name of Edouardo 

"I'd like to be there to see them throw the benches at 
you," Ettore said. "You can't sing Italian." 

"He's a nut," said Edgar Saunders. "All he knows 
how to say is throw benches." 


"That's all they know how to do when you two 
sing," Ettore said. "Then when you go to America 
you'll tell about your triumphs at the Scala. They 
wouldn't let you get by the first note at the Scala." 

"I'll sing at the Scala," Simmons said. "I'm going 
to sing Tosca in October." 

"We'll go, won't we, Mac?" Ettore said to the vice- 
consul. "They'll need somebody to protect them." 

"Maybe the American army will be there to protect 
them," the vice-consul said. "Do you want another 
drink, Simmons? You want a drink, Saunders?" 

"All right," said Saunders. 

"I hear you're going to get the silver medal," Ettore 
said to me. "What kind of citation you going to get?" 

"I don't know. I don't know I'm going to get it" 

"You're going to get it. Oh boy, the girls at the 
Cova will think you're fine then. They'll all think you 
killed two hundred Austrians or captured a whole 
trench by yourself. Believe me, I got to work for my 

"How many have you got, Ettore?" asked the vice- 

"He's got everything," Simmons said. "He's the 
boy they're running the war for." 

"I've got the bronze twice and three silver medals," 
said Ettore. "But the papers on only one have come 

"What's the matter with the others?" asked Sim- 

"The action wasn't successful," said Ettore. "When 
the action isn't successful they hold up all the medals." 

"How many times have you been wounded, Ettore ?" 

"Three times bad. I got three wound stripes. See?" 


He pulled his sleeve around. The stripes were parallel 
silver lines on a black background sewed to the cloth 
of the sleeve about eight inches below the shoulder. 

"You got one too," Ettore said to me. "Believe me 
they're fine to have. I'd rather have them than medals. 
Believe me, boy, when you get three you've got some- 
thing. You only get one for a wound that puts you 
three months in the hospital." 

"Where were you wounded, Ettore?" asked the vice- 

Ettore pulled up his sleeve. "Here," he showed the 
deep smooth red scar. "Here on my leg. I can't show 
you that because I got puttees on; and in the foot. 
There's dead bone in my foot that stinks right now. 
Every morning I take new little pieces out and it stinks 
all the time." 

"What hit you?" asked Simmons. 

"A hand-grenade. One of those potato mashers. It 
just blew the whole side of my foot off. You know 
those potato mashers?" He turned to me. 


"I saw the son of a bitch throw it," Ettore said. "It 
knocked me down and I thought I was dead all right 
but those damn potato mashers haven't got anything 
in them. I shot the son of a bitch with my rifle. I al- 
ways carry a rifle so they can't tell I'm an officer." 

"How did he look?" asked Simmons. 

"That was the only one he had," Ettore said. "I 
don't know why he threw it. I guess he always wanted 
to throw one. He never saw any real fighting probably. 
I shot the son of a bitch all right." 

"How did he look when you shot him?" Simmons 

"Hell, how should I know," said Ettore. "I shot him 


in the belly. I was afraid I'd miss him if I shot him 
in the head." 

"How long have you been an officer, Ettore?" I 

'Two years. I'm going to be a captain. How long 
have you been a lieutenant?" 

"Going on three years." 

"You can't be a captain because you don't know the 
Italian language well enough," Ettore said. "You can 
talk but you can't read and write well enough. You 
got to have an education to be a captain. Why don't 
you go in the American army?" 

"Maybe I will." 

"I wish to God I could. Oh, boy, how much does a 
captain get, Mac?" 

"I don't know exactly. Around two hundred and 
fifty dollars, I think." 

"Jesus Christ what I could do with two hundred 
and fifty dollars. You better get in the American army 
quick, Fred. See if you can't get me in." 

"All right." 

"I can command a company in Italian I could learn 
it in English easy." 

"You'd be a general," said Simmons. 

"No, I don't know enough to be a general. A gen- 
eral's got to know a hell of a lot. You guys think there 
ain't anything to war. You ain't got brains enough to 
be a second-class corporal." 

"Thank God I don't have to be," Simmons said. 

"Maybe you will if they round up all you slackers. 
Oh, boy, I'd like to have you two in my platoon. Mac 
too. I'd make you my orderly, Mac." 

"You're a great boy, Ettore," Mac said. "But I'm 
afraid you're a militarist." 


'Til be a colonel before the war's over/' Ettore said. 

"If they don't kill you." 

"They won't kill me." He touched the stars at his 
collar with his thumb and forefinger. "See me do that? 
We always touch our stars if anybody mentions get- 
ting killed." 

"Let's go, Sim," said Saunders standing up. 

"All right." 

"So long," I said. "I have to go too." It was a 
quarter to six by the clock inside the bar. "Ciaou, Et- 

"Ciaou, Fred," said Ettore. "That's pretty fine 
you're going to get the silver medal." 

"I don't know I'll get it." 

"You'll get' it all right, Fred. I heard you were go- 
ing to get it all right." 

"Well, so long," I said. "Keep out of trouble, Et- 

"Don't worry about me. I don't drink and I don't 
run around. I'm no boozer and whorehound. I know 
what's good for me." 

"So long," I said. "I'm glad you're going to be pro- 
moted captain." 

"I don't have to wait to be promoted. I'm going to 
be a captain for merit of war. You know. Three stars 
with the crossed swords and crown above. That's me." 

"Good luck." 

"Good luck. When you going back to the front?" 

"Pretty soon." 

"Well, I'll see you around." 

"So long." 

"So long. Don't take any bad nickels." 

I walked on down a back street that led to a cross- 
cut to the hospital. Ettore was twenty-three. He had 


been brought up by an uncle in San Francisco and was 
visiting his father and mother in Torino when war was 
declared. He had a sister, who had been sent to Amer- 
ica with him at the same time to live with the uncle, 
who would graduate from normal school this year. 
He was a legitimate hero who bored every one he met. 
Catherine could not stand him. 

"We have heroes too," she said. "But usually, dar- 
ling, they're much quieter." 

"I don't mind him." 

"I wouldn't mind him if he wasn't so conceited and 
didn't bore me, and bore me, and bore me." 

"He bores me." 

"You're sweet to say so, darling. But you don't 
need to. You can picture him at the front and you 
know he's useful but he's so much the type of boy I 
don't care for." 

"I know." 

"You're awfully sweet to know, and I try and like 
him but he's a dreadful, dreadful boy really." 

"He said this afternoon he was going to be a cap- 

"I'm glad," said Catherine. "That should please 

"Wouldn't you like me to have some more exalted 

"No, darling. I only want you to have enough rank 
so that we're admitted to the better restaurants." 

"That's just the rank I have." 

"You have a splendid rank. I don't want you to 
have any more rank. It might go to your head. Oh, 
darling, I'm awfully glad you're not conceited. I'd 
have married you even if you were conceited but it's 
very restful to have a husband who's not conceited." 


We were talking softly out on the balcony. The 
moon was supposed to rise but there was a mist over 
the town and it did not come up and in a little while 
it started to drizzle and we came in. Outside the mist 
turned to rain and in a little while it was raining hard 
and we heard it drumming on the roof. I got up and 
stood at the door to see if it was raining in but it wasn't, 
so I left the door open. 

"Who else did you see?" Catherine asked. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Meyers." 

"They're a strange lot." 

"He's supposed to have been in the penitentiary at 
home. They let him out to die." 

"And he lived happily in Milan forever after." 

"I don't know how happily." 

"Happily enough after jail I should think." 

"She's bringing some things here." 

"She brings splendid things. Were you her dear 

"One of them." 

"You are all her dear boys," Catherine said. "She 
prefers the dear boys. Listen to it rain." 

"It's raining hard." 

"And you'll always love me, won't you?" 


"And the rain won't make any difference?" 


"That's good. Because I'm afraid of the rain." 

"Why?" I was sleepy. Outside the rain was falling 

"I don't know, darling. I've always been afraid of 
the rain." 

"I like it." 


"I like to walk in it. But it's very hard on loving." 

"I'll love you always." 

"I'll love you in the rain and in the snow and in the 
hail and — what else is there?" 

"I don't know. I guess I'm sleepy." 

"Go to sleep, darling, and I'll love you no matter 
how it is." 

"You're not really afraid of the rain are you?" 

"Not when I'm with you." 

"Why are you afraid of it?" 

"I don't know." 

"Tell me." 

"Don't make me." 

"Tell me." 


"Tell me." 

"All right. I'm afraid of the rain because some- 
times I see me dead in it." 


"And sometimes I see you dead in it." 

"That's more likely." 

"No it's not, darling. Because I can keep you safe. 
I know I can. But nobody can help themselves." 

"Please stop it. I don't want you to get Scotch and 
crazy to-night. We won't be together much longer." 

"No, but I am Scotch and crazy. But I'll stop it. 
It's all nonsense." 

"Yes it's all nonsense." 

"It's all nonsense. It's only nonsense. Fm not afraid 
of the rain. I'm not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, God, 
I wish I wasn't." She was crying. I comforted her 
and she stopped crying. But outside it kept on raining. 


One day in the afternoon we went to the races. Fer- 
guson went too and Crowell Rodgers, the boy who had 
been wounded in the eyes by the explosion of the shell 
nose-cap. The girls dressed to go after lunch while 
Crowell and I sat on the bed in his room and read the 
past performances of the horses and the predictions in 
the racing paper. Crowell's head was bandaged and 
he did not care much about these races but read the rac- 
ing paper constantly and kept track of all the horses for 
something to do. He said the horses were a terrible 
lot but they were all the horses we had. Old Meyers 
liked him and gave him tips. Meyers won on nearly 
every race but disliked to give tips because it brought 
down the prices. The racing was very crooked. Men 
who had been ruled off the turf everywhere else were 
racing in Italy. Meyers' information was good but I 
hated to ask him because sometimes he did not answer, 
and always you could see it hurt him to tell you, but he 
felt obligated to tell us for some reason and he hated 
less to tell Crowell. Crowell's eyes had been hurt, one 
was hurt badly, and Meyers had trouble with his eyes 
and so he liked Crowell. Meyers never told his wife 
what horses he was playing and she won or lost, mostly 
lost, and talked all the time. 

We four drove out to San Siro in an open carriage. 
It was a lovely day and we drove out through the park 
and out along the tramway and out of town where the 
road was dusty. There were villas with iron fences and 
big overgrown gardens and ditches with water flowing 
and green vegetable gardens with dust on the leaves. 



We could look across the plain and see farmhouses 
and the rich green farms with their irrigation ditches 
and the mountains to the north. There were many car- 
riages going into the race track and the men at the 
gate let us in without cards because we were in uni- 
form. We left the carriage, bought programmes, and 
walked across the infield and then across the smooth 
thick turf of the course to the paddock. The grand 
stands were old and made of wood and the betting 
booths were under the stands and in a row out near the 
stables. There was a crowd of soldiers along the fence 
in the infield. The paddock was fairly well filled with 
people and they were walking the horses around in a 
ring under the trees behind the grand stand. We saw 
people we knew and got chairs for Ferguson and 
Catherine and watched the horses. 

They went around, one after the other, their heads 
down, the grooms leading them. One horse, a purplish 
black, Crowell swore was dyed that color. We 
watched him and it seemed possible. He had only 
come out just before the bell rang to saddle. We looked 
him up in the programme from the number on the 
groom's arm and it was listed a black gelding named 
Japalac. The race was for horses that had never won 
a race worth one thousand lire or more. Catherine 
was sure his color had been changed. Ferguson said 
she could not tell. I thought he looked suspicious. We 
all agreed we ought to back him and pooled one hun- 
dred lire. The odds sheets showed he would pay thirty- 
five to one. Crowell went over and bought the tickets 
while we watched the jockeys ride around once more 
and then go out under the trees to the track and gallop 
slowly up to the turn where the start was to be. 

We went up in the grand-stand to watch the race. 


They had no elastic barrier at San Siro then and tKi 
starter lined up all the horses, they looked very small 
way up the track, and then sent them off with a crack 
of his long whip. They came past us with the black 
horse well in front and on the turn he was running 
away from the others. I watched them on the far side 
with the glasses and saw the jockey fighting to hold 
him in but he could not hold him and when they came 
around the turn and into the stretch the black horse 
was fifteen lengths ahead of the others. He went way 
on up and around the turn after the finish. 

"Isn't it wonderful," Catherine said. "We'll have 
over three thousand lire. He must be a splendid horse." 

"I hope his color doesn't run," Crowell said, "before 
they pay off." 

"He was really a lovely horse," Catherine said. "I 
wonder if Mr. Meyers backed him." 

"Did you have the winner ?" I called to Meyers. He 

"I didn't," Mrs. Meyers said. "Who did you children 
bet on?" 


"Really? He's thirty-five to one!" 

"We liked his color." 

"I didn't. I thought he looked seedy. They told me 
not to back him." 

"He won't pay much," Meyers said. 

"He's marked thirty-five to one in the quotes," I said. 

"He won't pay much. At the last minute," Meyers 
said, "they put a lot of money on him." 


"Kempton and the boys. You'll see. He won't pay 
two to one." 


"Then we won't get three thousand lire," Catherine 
said. "I don't like this crooked racing!" 

"We'll get two hundred lire." 

"That's nothing. That doesn't do us any good. I 
thought we were going to get three thousand." 

"It's crooked and disgusting," Ferguson said. 

"Of course," said Catherine, "if it hadn't been 
crooked we'd never have backed him at all. But I 
would have liked the three thousand lire." 

"Let's go down and get a drink and see what they 
pay," Crowell said. We went out to where they posted 
the numbers and the bell rang to pay off and they put 
up 18.50 after Japalac to win. That meant he paid less 
than even money on a ten-lira bet. 

We went to the bar under the grand stand and had 
a whiskey and soda apiece. We ran into a couple of 
Italians we knew and McAdams, the vice-consul, and 
they came up with us when we joined the girls. The 
Italians were full of manners and McAdams talked to 
Catherine while we went down to bet again. Mr. Mey- 
ers was standing near the pari-mutual. 

"Ask him what he played," I said to Crowell. 

"What are you on, Mr. Meyers?" Crowell asked. 
Meyers took out his programme and pointed to the 
number five with his pencil. 

"Do you mind if we play him too?" Crowell asked. 

"Go ahead. Go ahead. But don't tell my wife I 
gave it to you." 

"Will you have a drink?" I asked. 

"No thanks. I never drink." 

We put a hundred lire on number five to win and a 
hundred to place and then had another whiskey and 
soda apiece. I was feeling very good and we picked up 
a couple more Italians, who each had a drink with us, 


and went back to the girls. These Italians were also 
very mannered and matched manners with the two we 
had collected before. In a little while no one could sit 
down. I gave the tickets to Catherine. 

"What horse is it?" 

"I don't know. Mr. Meyers' choice." 

"Don't you even know the name?" 

"No. You can find it on the programme. Number 
five I think." 

"You have touching faith," she said. The number 
five won but did not pay anything. Mr. Meyers was 

"You have to put up two hundred lire to make 
twenty," he said. "Twelve lire for ten. It's not worth 
it. My wife lost twenty lire." 

"I'll go down with you," Catherine said to me. The 
Italians all stood up. We went downstairs and out to 
the paddock. 

"Do you like this?" Catherine asked. 

"Yes. I guess I do." 

"It's all right, I suppose," she said. "But, darling, I 
can't stand to see so many people." 

"We don't see many." 

"No. But those Meyers and the man from the bank 
with his wife and daughters " 

"He cashes my sight drafts," I said. 

"Yes but some one else would if he didn't. Those 
last four boys were awful." 

"We can stay out here and watch the race from the 

"That will be lovely. And, darling, let's back a horse 
we've never heard of and that Mr. Meyers won't be 

"All right." 


We backed a horse named Light For Me that fin- 
ished fourth in a field of five. We leaned on the fence 
and watched the horses go by, their hoofs thudding as 
they went past, and saw the mountains off in the dis- 
tance and Milan beyond the trees and the fields. 

"I feel so much cleaner/' Catherine said. The horses 
were coming back, through the gate, wet and sweating, 
the jockeys quieting them and riding up to dismount 
under the trees. 

"Wouldn't you like a drink? We could have one out 
here and see the horses.' ' 

'Til get them," I said. 

"The boy will bring them," Catherine said. She put 
her hand up and the boy came out from the Pagoda 
bar beside the stables. We sat down at a round iron 

"Don't you like it better when we're alone?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"I felt very lonely when they were all there." 

"It's grand here," I said. 

"Yes. It's really a pretty course." 

"It's nice." 

"Don't let me spoil your fun, darling. I'll go back 
whenever you want." 

"No," I said. "We'll stay here and have our drink. 
Then we'll go down and stand at the water jump for 
the steeplechase." 

"You're awfully good to me," she said. 

After we had been alone awhile we were glad to see 
the others again. We had a good time. 


In September the first cool nights came, then the 
days were cool and the leaves on the trees in the park 
began to turn color and we knew the summer was gone. 
The fighting at the front went very badly and they 
could not take San Gabriele. The fighting on the Bain- 
sizza plateau was over and by the middle of the month 
the fighting for San Gabriele was about over too. They 
could not take it. Ettore was gone back to the front. 
The horses were gone to Rome and there was no more 
racing. Crowell had gone to Rome too, to be sent back 
to America. There were riots twice in the town against 
the war and bad rioting in Turin. A British major at 
the club told me the Italians had lost one hundred and 
fifty thousand men on the Bainsizza plateau and on 
San Gabriele. He said they had lost forty thousand 
on the Carso besides. We had a drink and he talked. 
He said the fighting was over for the year down here 
and that the Italians had bitten off more than they 
could chew. He said the offensive in Flanders was go- 
ing to the bad. If they killed men as they did this fall 
the Allies would be cooked in another year. He said 
we were all cooked but we were all right as long as we 
did not know it. We were all cooked. The thing was 
not to recognize it. The last country to realize they 
were cooked would win the war. We had another 
drink. Was I on somebody's staff? No. He was. It 
was all balls. We were alone in the club sitting back in 
one of the big leather sofas. His boots were smoothly 
polished dull leather. They were beautiful boots. He 
said it was all balls. They thought only in divisions 



and man-power. They all squabbled about divisions 
and only killed them when they got them. They were 
all cooked. The Germans won the victories. By God 
they were soldiers. The old Hun was a soldier. But 
they were cooked too. We were all cooked I asked 
about Russia. He said they were cooked already. I'd 
soon see they were cooked. Then the Austrians were 
cooked too. If they got some Hun divisions they could 
do it. Did he think they would attack this fall? Of 
course they would. The Italians were cooked. Every- 
body knew they were cooked. The old Hun would come 
down through the Trentino and cut the railway at Vi- 
cenza and then where would the Italians be? They 
tried that in 'sixteen, I said. Not with Germans. Yes, 
I said. But they probably wouldn't do that, he said. 
It was too simple. They'd try something complicated 
and get royally cooked. I had to go, I said. I had to 
get back to the hospital. "Good-by," he said. Then 
cheerily, "Every sort of luck !" There was a great con- 
trast between his world pessimism and personal cheeri- 

I stopped at a barber shop and was shaved and went 
home to the hospital. My leg was as well as it would 
get for a long time. I had been up for examination 
three days before. There were still some treatments to 
take before my course at the Ospedale Maggiore was 
finished and I walked along the side street practising 
not limping. An old man was cutting silhouettes under 
an arcade. I stopped to watch him. Two girls were 
posing and he cut their silhouettes together, snipping 
very fast and looking at them, his head on one side. 
The girls were giggling. He showed me the silhou- 
ettes before he pasted them on white paper and handed 
them to the girls. 


'They're beautiful," he said. "How about you, 
Tenente ?" 

The girls went away looking at their silhouettes and 
laughing. They were nice-looking girls. One of them 
worked in the wine shop across from the hospital. 

"All right," I said. 

"Take your cap off." 

"No. With it on." 

"It will not be so beautiful," the old man said. "But," 
he brightened, "it will be more military." 

He snipped away at the black paper, then separated 
the two thicknesses and pasted the profiles on a card 
and handed them to me. 

"How much?" 

"That's all right." He waved his hand. "I just made 
them for you." 

"Please." I brought out some coppers. "For plea- 

"No. I did them for a pleasure. Give them to your 

"Many thanks until we meet." 

"Until I see thee." 

I went on to the hospital. There were some letters, 
an official one, and some others. I was to have three 
weeks' convalescent leave and then return to the front. 
I read it over carefully. Well, that was that. The con- 
valescent leave started October fourth when my course 
was finished. Three weeks was twenty-one days. That 
made October twenty-fifth. I told them I would not 
be in and went to the restaurant a little way up the 
street from the hospital for supper and read my letters 
and the Corriere Delia Sera at the table. There was a 
letter from my grandfather, containing family news, 


patriotic encouragement, a draft for two hundred dol- 
lars, and a few clippings ; a dull letter from the priest 
at our mess, a letter from a man I knew who was flying 
with the French and had gotten in with a wild gang 
and was telling about it, and a note from Rinaldi ask- 
ing me how long I was going to skulk in Milano and 
what was all the news? He wanted me to bring him 
phonograph records and enclosed a list. I drank a 
small bottle of chianti with the meal, had a coffee after- 
ward with a glass of cognac, finished the paper, put my 
letters in my pocket, left the paper on the table with 
the tip and went out In my room at the hospital I un- 
dressed, put on pajamas and a dressing-gown, pulled 
down the curtains on the door that opened onto the bal- 
cony and sitting up in bed read Boston papers from a 
pile Mrs. Meyers had left for her boys at the hospital. 
The Chicago White Sox were winning the American 
League pennant and the New York Giants were lead- 
ing the National League. Babe Ruth was a pitcher 
then playing for Boston. The papers were dull, the 
news was local and stale, and the war news was all old. 
The American news was all training camps. I was glad 
I wasn't in a training camp. The baseball news was 
all I could read and I did not have the slightest interest 
in it. A number of papers together made it impossible 
to read with interest. It was not very timely but I read 
at it for a while. I wondered if America really got 
into the war, if they would close down the major 
leagues. They probably wouldn't. There was still rac- 
ing in Milan and the war could not be much worse. 
They had stopped racing in France. That was where 
our horse Japalac came from. Catherine was not due 
on duty until nine o'clock. I heard her passing along 
the floor when she first came on duty and once saw her 


pass in the hall. She went to several other rooms and 
finally came into mine. 

"I'm late, darling/' she said. "There was a lot to do. 
How are you?" 

I told her about my papers and the leave. 

"That's lovely," she said. "Where do you want to 

"Nowhere. I want to stay here." 

"That's silly. You pick a place to go and I'll come 

"How will you work it?" 

"I don't know. But I will." 

"You're pretty wonderful." 

"No I'm not. But life isn't hard to manage when 
you've nothing to lose." 

"How do you mean?" 

"Nothing. I was only thinking how small obstacles 
seemed that once were so big." 

"I should think it might be hard to manage." 

"No it won't, darling. If necessary I'll simply leave. 
But it won't come to that." 

"Where should we go?" 

"I don't care. Anywhere you want. Anywhere we 
don't know people." 

"Don't you care where we go?" 

"No. I'll like any place." 

She seemed upset and taut. 

"What's the matter, Catherine?" 

"Nothing. Nothing's the matter." 

"Yes there is." 

"No nothing. Really nothing." 

"I know there is. Tell me, darling. You can tell 


It's nothing." 


"Tell me." 

"I don't want to. I'm afraid I'll make you unhappy 
or worry you." 

"No it won't." 

"You're sure? It doesn't worry me but I'm afraid 
to worry you." 

"It won't if it doesn't worry you." 

"I don't want to tell." 

"Tell it.' 

"Do I have to?" 


"I'm going to have a baby, darling. It's almost three 
months along. You're not worried, are you? Please 
please don't. You mustn't worry." 

"All right." 

"Is it all right?" 

"Of course." 

"I did everything. I took everything but it didn't 
make any difference." 

"I'm not worried." 

"I couldn't help it, darling, and I haven't worried 
about it. You mustn't worry or feel badly." 

"I only worry about you." 

"That's it. That's what you mustn't do. People 
have babies all the time. Everybody has babies. It's 
a natural thing." 

"You're pretty wonderful." 

"No I'm not. But you mustn't mind, darling. I'll 
try and not make trouble for you. I know I've made 
trouble now. But haven't I been a good girl until now ? 
You never knew it, did you?" 


"It will all be like that. You simply mustn't worry. 
I can see you're worrying. Stop it. Stop it right away. 


Wouldn't you like a drink, darling? I know a drink, 
always makes you feel cheerful." 

"No. I feel cheerful And you're pretty wonder- 

"No I'm not. But I'll fix everything to be together 
if you pick out a place for us to go. It ought to be 
lovely in October. We'll have a lovely time, darling, 
and I'll write you every day while you're at the front." 

"Where will you be?" 

"I don't know yet. But somewhere splendid. I'll 
look after all that." 

We were quiet awhile and did not talk. Catherine 
was sitting on the bed and I was looking at her but we 
did not touch each other. We were apart as when some 
one comes into a room and people are self-conscious. 
She put out her hand and took mine. 

"You aren't angry are you, darling?" 


"And you don't feel trapped ?" 

"Maybe a little. But not by you." 

"I didn't mean by me. You mustn't be stupid. I 
meant trapped at all." 

"You always feel trapped biologically." 

She went away a long way without stirring or re- 
moving her hand. 

" 'Always' isn't a pretty word." 

"I'm sorry." 

"It's all right. But you see I've never had a baby 
and I've never even loved any one. And I've tried to be 
the way you wanted and then you talk about 'always.' ' 

"I could cut off my tongue," I offered. 

"Oh, darling!" she came back from wherever she 
had been. "You mustn't mind me." We were both to- 
gether again and the self -consciousness was gone. "We 


really are the same one and we mustn't misunderstand 
on purpose/ ' 

"We won't." 

"But people do. They love each other and they mis- 
understand on purpose and they fight and then sud- 
denly they aren't the same one." 

"We won't fight." 

"We mustn't. Because there's only us two and in 
the world there's all the rest of them. If anything 
comes between us we're gone and then they have us." 

"They won't get us," I said. "Because you're too 
brave. Nothing ever happens to the brave." 

"They die of course." 

"But only once." 

"I don't know. Who said that?" 

"The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but 

"Of course. Who said it?" 

"I don't know." 

"He was probably a coward," she said. "He knew 
a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. 
The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's in- 
telligent. He simply doesn't mention them." 

"I don't know. It's hard to see inside the head of 
the brave." 

"Yes. That's how they keep that way." 

"You're an authority." 

"You're right, darling. That was deserved." 

"You're brave." 

"No," she said. "But I would like to be." 

"I'm not," I said, "I know where I stand. I've been 
out long enough to know. I'm like a ball-player that 
bats two hundred and thirty and knows he's no better." 


"What is a ball-player that bats two hundred and 
thirty? Ifs awfully impressive." 

"It's not It means a mediocre hitter in baseball." 

"But still a hitter," she prodded me. 

"I guess we're both conceited," I said. "But you are 

"No. But I hope to be." 

"We're both brave," I said. "And I'm very brave 
when I've had a drink." 

"We're splendid people," Catherine said. She went 
over to the armoire and brought me the cognac and a 
glass. "Have a drink, darling," she said. "You've 
been awfully good." 

"I don't really want one." 

"Take one." 

"All right." I poured the water glass a third full 
of cognac and drank it off. 

"That was very big," she said. "I know brandy is 
for heroes. But you shouldn't exaggerate." 

"Where will we live after the war?" 

"In an old people's home probably," she said. "For 
three years I looked forward very childishly to the war 
ending at Christmas. But now I look forward till when 
our son will be a lieutenant commander." 

"Maybe he'll be a general." 

"If it's an hundred years' war he'll have time to try 
both of the services." 

"Don't you want a drink?" 

"No. It always makes you happy, darling, and it 
only makes me dizzy." 

"Didn't you ever drink brandy?" 

"No, darling. I'm a very old-fashioned wife." 

I reached down to the floor for the bottle and poured 
another drink. 


"I'd better go to have a look at your compatriots/ ' 
Catherine said. "Perhaps you'll read the papers until 
I come back." 

"Do you have to go?" 

"Now or later." 

"All right. Now." 

"Fll come back later." 

"Fll have finished the papers/' I said. 


It turned cold that night and the next day it was 
raining. Coming home from the Ospedale Maggiore 
it rained very hard and I was wet when I came in. Up 
in my room the rain was coming down heavily outside 
on the balcony, and the wind blew it against the glass 
doors. I changed my clothing and drank some brandy 
but the brandy did not taste good. I felt sick in the 
night and in the morning after breakfast I was nau- 

"There is no doubt about it," the house surgeon said. 
"Look at the whites of his eyes, Miss." 

Miss Gage looked. They had me look in a glass. The 
whites of the eyes were yellow and it was the jaundice. 
I was sick for two weeks with it. For that reason we 
did not spend a convalescent leave together. We had 
planned to go to Pallanza on Lago Maggiore. It is 
nice there in the fall when the leaves turn. There are 
walks you can take and you can troll for trout in the 
lake. It would have been better than Stresa because 
there are fewer people at Pallanza. Stresa is so easy 
to get to from Milan that there are always people you 
know. There is a nice village at Pallanza and you can 
row out to the islands where the fishermen live and 
there is a restaurant on the biggest island. But we 
did not go. 

One day while I was in bed with jaundice Miss Van 
Campen came in the room, opened the door into the 
armoire and saw the empty bottles there. I had sent a 
load of them down by the porter and I believe she must 
have seen them going out and come up to find some 



more. They were mostly vermouth bottles, marsala bot- 
tles, capri bottles, empty chianti flasks and a few cognac 
bottles. The porter had carried out the large bottles, 
those that had held vermouth, and the straw-covered 
chianti flasks, and left the brandy bottles for the last. 
It was the brandy bottles and a bottle shaped like a bear, 
which had held kummel, that Miss Van Campen found. 
The bear-shaped bottle enraged her particularly. She 
held it up, the bear was sitting up on his haunches with 
his paw r s up, there was a cork in his glass head and a 
few sticky crystals at the bottom. I laughed. 

"It was kummel," I said. "The best kummel comes 
in those bear-shaped bottles. It comes from Russia." 

"Those are all brandy bottles, aren't they?" Miss 
Van Campen asked. 

"I can't see them all," I said. "But they probably 

"How long has this been going on?" 

"I bought them and brought them in myself," I said. 
"I have had Italian officers visit me frequently and I 
have kept brandy to offer them." 

"You haven't been drinking it yourself?" she said. 

"I have also drunk it myself." 

"Brandy," she said. "Eleven empty bottles of brandy 
and that bear liquid." 


"I will send for some one to take them away. Those 
are all the empty bottles you have?" 

"For the moment." 

"And I was pitying you having jaundice. Pity is 
something that is wasted on you." 

"Thank you." 

"I suppose you can't be blamed for not wanting to 
go back to the front. But I should think you would 


try something more intelligent than producing jaun- 
dice with alcoholism." 

"With what?" 

"With alcoholism. You heard me say it." I did 
not say anything. "Unless you find something else I'm 
afraid you will have to go back to the front when 
you are through with your jaundice. I don't believe 
self-inflicted jaundice entitles you to a convalescent 

"You don't?" 

"I do not." 

"Have you ever had jaundice, Miss Van Campen?" 

"No, but I have seen a great deal of it." 

"You noticed how the patients enjoyed it?" 

"I suppose it is better than the front." 

"Miss Van Campen," I said, "did you ever know a 
man who tried to disable himself by kicking himself 
in the scrotum?" 

Miss Van Campen ignored the actual question. She 
had to ignore it or leave the room. She was not ready 
to leave because she had disliked me for a long time 
and she was now cashing in. 

"I have known many men to escape the front through 
self-inflicted wounds." 

"That wasn't the question. I have seen self-inflicted 
wounds also. I asked you if you had ever known a 
man who had tried to disable himself by kicking him- 
self in the scrotum. Because that is the nearest sensa- 
tion to jaundice and it is a sensation that I believe few 
women have ever experienced. That was why I asked 
you if you had ever had the jaundice, Miss Van 
Campen, because — " Miss Van Campen left the room. 
Later Miss Gage came in. 


"What did you say to Van Campen ? She was furi- 

"We were comparing sensations. I was going to 
suggest that she had never experienced childbirth " 

"You're a fool/' Gage said. "She's after your scalp." 

"She has my scalp," I said. "She's lost me my leave 
and she might try and get me court-martialled. She's 
mean enough." 

"She never liked you," Gage said. "What's it 

"She says I've drunk myself into jaundice so as 
not to go back to the front." 

"Pooh," said Gage. "I'll swear you've never taken 
a drink. Everybody will swear you've never taken a 

"She found the bottles." 

"I've told you a hundred times to clear out those 
bottles. Where are they now?" 

"In the armoire." 

"Have you a suitcase?" 

"No. Put them in that rucksack." 

Miss Gage packed the bottles in the rucksack. "I'll 
give them to the porter," she said. She started for the 

"Just a minute," Miss Van Campen said. "I'll take 
those bottles." She had the porter with her. "Carry 
them, please," she said. "I want to show them to the 
doctor when I make my report." 

She went down the hall. The porter carried the sack. 
He knew what was in it. 

Nothing happened except that I lost my leave. 


The night I was to return to the front I sent the 
porter down to hold a seat for me on the train when it 
came from Turin. The traij?w T as to leave at midnight. 
It was made up at Turin ailsreached Milan about half- 
past ten at night and lay in the station until time to 
leave. You had to be there when it came in, to get a 
seat. The porter took a friend with him, a machine- 
gunner on leave who worked in a tailor shop, and was 
sure that between them they could hold a place. I gave 
them money for platform tickets and had them take my 
baggage. There was a big rucksack and two musettes. 

I said good-by at the hospital at about five o'clock 
and went out. The porter had my baggage in his lodge 
T told him I would be at the station a little before 
rmuiiight. His wife called me "Signorino" and cried. 
She wiped her eyes and shook hands and then cried 
again. I patted her on the back and she cried once 
more. She had done my mending and was a very short 
dumpy, happy- faced woman with w r hite hair. When she 
cried her whole face went to pieces. I went down to 
the corner where there was a wine shop and waited in- 
side looking out the window. It was dark outside and 
cold and misty. I paid for my coffee and grappa and 
I watched the people going by in the light from the 
window. I saw Catherine and knocked on the window. 
She looked, saw me and smiled, and I went out to meet 
her. She was wearing a dark blue cape and a soft felt 
hat. We walked along together, along the sidewalk 
past the wine shops, then across the market square and 
up the street and through the archway to the cathedral 



square. There were streetcar tracks and beyond them 
was the cathedral. It was white and wet in the mist. 
We crossed the tram tracks. On our left were the 
shops, their windows lighted, and the entrance to the 
galleria. There was a fog in the square and when we 
came close to the front of the cathedral it was very big 
and the stone was wet. 

" Would you like to go in?" 

"No," Catherine said. We walked along. There was 
a soldier standing with his girl in the shadow of one of 
the stone buttresses ahead of us and we passed them. 
They were standing tight up against the stone and he 
had put his cape around her. 

"They're like us," I said. 

"Nobody is like us," Catherine said. She did not 
mean it happily. 

"I wish they had some place to go." 

"It mightn't do them any good." 

"I don't know. Everybody ought to have some place 
to go." 

"They have the cathedral," Catherine said. We were 
past it now. We crossed the far end of the square and 
looked back at the cathedral. It was fine in the mist. 
We were standing in front of the leather goods shop. 
There were riding boots, a rucksack and ski boots in 
the window. Each article was set apart as an exhibit ; 
the rucksack in the centre, the riding boots on one side 
and the ski boots on the other. The leather was dark 
and oiled smooth as a used saddle. The electric light 
made high lights on the dull oiled leather. 

"We'll ski some time." 

"In two months there will be ski-ing at Murren," 
Catherine said. 

"Let's go there." 


"All right/' she said. We went on past other win- 
dows and turned down a side street. 

"I've never been this way." 

"This is the way I go to the hospital," I said. It was 
a narrow street and we kept on the right-hand side. 
There were many people passing in the fog. There 
were shops and all the windows were lighted. We 
looked in a window at a pile of cheeses. I stopped in 
front of an armorer's shop. 

"Come in a minute. I have to buy a gun." 

"What sort of gun?" 

"A pistol." We went in and I unbuttoned my belt 
and laid it with the empty holster on the counter. Two 
women were behind the counter. The women brought 
out several pistols. 

"It must fit this," I said, opening the holster. It 
was a gray leather holster and I had bought it second- 
hand to wear in the town. 

"Have they good pistols?" Catherine asked. 

"They're all about the same. Can I try this one?" 
I asked the woman. 

"I have no place now to shoot," she said. "But it 
is very good. You will not make a mistake with it." 

I snapped it and pulled back the action. The spring 
was rather strong but it worked smoothly. I sighted 
it and snapped it again. 

"It is used," the woman said. "It belonged to an of- 
ficer who was an excellent shot." 

"Did you sell it to him?" 


"How did you get it back?" 

"From his orderly." 

"Maybe you have mine," I said. "How much is 


"Fifty lire. It is very cheap." 

"All right. I want two extra clips and a box of 

She brought them from under the counter. 

"Have you any need for a sword?" she asked. "I 
have some used swords very cheap." 

"I'm going to the front*" I said. 

"Oh yes, then you won't need a sword," she said. 

I paid for the cartridges and the pistol, filled the 
magazine and put it in place, put the pistol in my empty 
holster, filled the extra clips with cartridges and put 
them in the leather slots on the holster and then buckled 
on my belt The pistol felt heavy on the belt. Still, I 
thought, it was better to have a regulation pistol. You 
could always get shells, 

"Now we're fully armed," I said. "That was the one 
thing I had to remember to do. Some one got my 
other one going to the hospital." 

"I hope it's a good pistol," Catherine said. 

"Was there anything else?" the woman asked. 

"I don't believe so." 

"The pistol has a lanyard," she said. 

"So I noticed." The woman wanted to sell some- 
thing else. 

"You don't need a whistle?" 

"I don't believe so." 

The woman said good-by and we went out onto the 
sidewalk. Catherine looked in the window. The wo- 
man looked out and bowed to us. 

"What are those little mirrors set in wood for?" 

"They're for attracting birds. They twirl them out 
in the field and larks see them and come out and the 
Italians shoot them." 

"They are an ingenious people," Catherine said. 


"You don't shoot larks do you, darling, in America ?" 

"Not especially." 

We crossed the street and started to walk up the 
other side. 

"I feel better now/' Catherine said. "I felt terrible 
when we started." 

"We always feel good when we're together." 

"We always will be together." 

"Yes, except that I'm going away at midnight." 

"Don't think about it, darling." 

We walked on up the street. The fog made the lights 

"Aren't you tired?" Catherine asked. 

"How about you?" 

"I'm all right. It's fun to walk." 

"But let's not do it too long." 


We turned down a side street where there were no 
lights and walked in the street. I stopped and kissed 
Catherine. While I kissed her I felt her hand on my 
shoulder. She had pulled my cape around her so it 
covered both of us. We were standing in the street 
against a high wall. 

"Let's go some place," I said. 

"Good," said Catherine. We walked on along the 
street until it came out onto a wider street that was 
beside a canal. On the other side was a brick wall and 
buildings. Ahead, down the street, I saw a street-car 
cross a bridge. 

"We can get a cab up at the bridge," I said. We 
stood on the bridge in the fog waiting for a carriage. 
Several street-cars passed, full of people going home. 
Then a carriage came along but there was some one in 
it. The fog was turning to rain. 


"We could walk or take a tram," Catherine said. 

"One will be along," I said. "They go by here." 

"Here one comes," she said. 

The driver stopped his horse and lowered the metal 
sign on his meter. The top of the carriage was up and 
there were drops of water on the driver's coat. His 
varnished hat was shining in the wet. We sat back in 
the seat together and the top of the carriage made it 

"Where did you tell him to go?" 

"To the station. There's a hotel across from the sta- 
tion where we can go." 

"We can go the way we are? Without luggage?" 

"Yes," I said. 

It was a long ride to the station up side streets in the 

"Won't we have dinner?" Catherine asked. "I'm 
afraid I'll be hungry." 

"We'll have it in our room." 

"I haven't anything to wear. I haven't even a night- 

"We'll get one," I said and called to the driver. 

"Go to the Via Manzoni and up that." He nodded 
and turned off to the left at the next corner. On the 
big street Catherine watched for a shop. 

"Here's a place," she said. I stopped the driver and 
Catherine got out, walked across the sidewalk and went 
inside. I sat back in the carriage and waited for her. 
It was raining and I could smell the wet street and the 
horse steaming in the rain. She came back with a 
package and got in and we drove on. 

"I was very extravagant, darling," she said, "but it's 
a fine nightgown." 

At the hotel I asked Catherine to wait in the carriage 


while I went in and spoke to the manager. There were 
plenty of rooms. Then I went out to the carriage, paid 
the driver, and Catherine and I walked in together. 
The small boy in buttons carried the package. The 
manager bowed us toward the elevator. There was 
much red plush and brass. The manager went up in the 
elevator with us. 

"Monsieur and Madame wish dinner in their room?" 

"Yes. Will you have the menu brought up?" I said. 

"You wish something special for dinner. Some 
game or a soufflet?" 

The elevator passed three floors with a click each 
time, then clicked and stopped. 

"What have you as game?" 

"I could get a pheasant, or a woodcock." 

"A woodcock," I said. We walked down the corri- 
dor. The carpet was worn. There were many doors. The 
manager stopped and unlocked a door and opened it. 

"Here you are. A lovely room." 

The small boy in buttons put the package on the table 
in the centre of the room. The manager opened the 

"It is foggy outside," he said. The room was fur- 
nished in red plush. There were many mirrors, two 
chairs and a large bed with a satin coverlet. A door 
led to the bathroom. 

"I will send up the menu," the manager said. He 
bowed and went out. 

I went to the window and looked out, then pulled a 
cord that shut the thick plush curtains. Catherine was 
sitting on the bed, looking at the cut glass chandelier. 
She had taken her hat off and her hair shone under the 
light. She saw herself in one of the mirrors and put 
her hands to her hair. I saw her in three other mir- 


rors. She did not look happy. She let her cape fall on 
the bed. 

" What's the matter, darling ?" 

"I never felt like a whore before," she said. I went 
over to the window and pulled the curtain aside and 
looked out I had not thought it would be like this. 

"You're not a whore/' 

"I know it, darling. But it isn't nice to feel like one." 
Her voice was dry and flat. 

"This was the best hotel we could get in," I said. I 
looked out the window. Across the square were the 
lights of the station. There were carriages going by 
on the street and I saw the trees in the park. The lights 
from the hotel shone on the wet pavement. Oh, hell, 
I thought, do we have to argue now ? 

"Come over here please," Catherine said. The flat- 
ness was all gone out of her voice. "Come over, please. 
I'm a good girl again." I looked over at the bed. She 
was smiling. 

I went over and sat on the bed beside her and kissed 

"You're my good girl." 

"I'm certainly yours," she said. 

After we had eaten we felt fine, and then after, we 
felt very happy and in a little time the room felt like 
our own home. My room at the hospital had been our 
own home and this room was our home too in the same 

Catherine wore my tunic over her shoulders while 
we ate. We were very hungry and the meal was good 
and we drank a bottle of Capri and a bottle of St. 
Estephe. I drank most of it but Catherine drank some 
and it made her feel splendid. For dinner we had a 


woodcock with souffle potatoes and puree de marron, a 
salad, and zabaione for dessert. 

"It's a fine room," Catherine said. "It's a lovely 
room. We should have stayed here all the time we've 
been in Milan." 

"It's a funny room. But it's nice." 

"Vice is a wonderful thing," Catherine said. "The 
people who go in for it seem to have good taste about 
it. The red plush is really fine. It's just the thing. 
And the mirrors are very attractive." 

"You're a lovely girl." 

"I don't know how a room like this would be for 
waking up in the morning. But it's really a splendid 
room." I poured another glass of St. Estephe. 

"I wish we could do something really sinful," Cath- 
erine said. "Everything we do seems so innocent and 
simple. I can't believe we do anything wrong." 

"You're a grand girl." 

"I only feel hungry. I get terribly hungry." 

"You're a fine simple girl," I said. 

"I am a simple girl. No one ever understood it ex- 
cept you." 

"Once when I first met you I spent an afternoon 
thinking how we would go to the Hotel Cavour to- 
gether and how it would be." 

"That was awfully cheeky of you. This isn't the 
Cavour is it?" 

"No. They wouldn't have taken us in there." 

"They'll take us in some time. But that's how we 
differ, darling. I never thought about anything." 

"Didn't you ever at all?" 

"A little," she said. 

"Oh you're a lovely girl." 

I poured another glass of wine. 


"I'm a very simple girl," Catherine said. 

"I didn't think so at first. I thought you were a 
crazy girl." 

''I was a little crazy. But I wasn't crazy in any com- 
plicated manner. I didn't confuse you did I, darling?" 

"Wine is a grand thing," I said. "It makes you for- 
get all the bad." 

"It's lovely," said Catherine. "But it's given my fa- 
ther gout very badly." 

"Have you a father?" 

"Yes," said Catherine. "He has gout. You won't 
ever have to meet him. Haven't you a father?" 

"No," I said. "A step-father." 

"Will I like him?" 

"You won't have to meet him." 

"We have such a fine time," Catherine said. "I don't 
take any interest in anything else any more. I'm so 
very happy married to you." 

The waiter came and took away the things. After a 
while we were very still and we could hear the rain. 
Down below on the street a motor car honked. 

" 'But at my back I always hear 

Time's winged chariot hurrying near/ " 

I said. 

"I know that poem," Catherine said. "It's by Marvell. 
But it's about a girl who wouldn't live with a man." 

My head felt very clear and cold and I wanted to 
talk facts. 

"Where will you have the baby?" 

"I don't know. The best place I can find." 

"How will you arrange it?" 

"The best way I can. Don't worry, darling. We 
may have several babies before the war is over." 


"It's nearly time to go." 

"I know. You can make it time if you want." 


"Then don't worry, darling. You were fine until now 
and now you're worrying." 

"I won't. How often will you write?" 

"Every day. Do they read your letters?" 

"They can't read English enough to hurt any." 

"I'll make them very confusing," Catherine said. 

"But not too confusing." 

"I'll just make them a little confusing." 

"I'm afraid we have to start to go." 

"All right, darling." 

"I hate to leave our fine house." 

"So do I." 

"But we have to go." 

"AH right. But we're never settled in our home 
very long." 

"We will be." 

"I'll have a fine home for you when you come back." 

"Maybe I'll be back right away." 

"Perhaps you'll be hurt just a little in the foot." 

"Or the lobe of the ear." 

"No I want your ears the way they are." 

"And not my feet?" 

"Your feet have been hit already." 

"We have to go, darling. Really." 

"All right. You go first." 


We walked down the stairs instead of taking the 
elevator. The carpet on the stairs was worn. I had 
paid for the dinner when it came up and the waiter, 
who had brought it, was sitting on a chair near the 
door. He jumped up and bowed and I went with him 
into the side room and paid the bill for the room. The 
manager had remembered me as a friend and refused 
payment in advance but when he retired he had remem- 
bered to have the waiter stationed at the door so that 
I should not get out without paying. I suppose that 
had happened ; even with his friends. One had so many 
friends in a war. 

I asked the waiter to get us a carriage and he took 
Catherine's package that I was carrying and went out 
with an umbrella. Outside through the window we 
saw him crossing the street in the rain. We stood in 
the side room and looked out the window. 

"How do you feel, Cat?" 


"I feel hollow and hungry." 

"Have you anything to eat?" 

"Yes, in my musette." 

I saw the carriage coming. It stopped, the horse's 
head hanging in the rain, and the waiter stepped out, 
opened his umbrella, and came toward the hotel. We 
met him at the door and walked out under the um- 
brella down the wet walk to the carriage at the curb. 
Water was running in the gutter. 

"There is your package on the seat," the waiter said. 
He stood with the umbrella until we were in and I had 
tipped him. 



"Many thanks. Pleasant journey," he said. The 
coachman lifted the reins and the horse started. The 
waiter turned away under the umbrella and went to- 
ward the hotel. We drove down the street and turned 
to the left, then came around to the right in front of 
the station. There were two carabinieri standing under 
the light just out of the rain. The light shone on their 
hats. The rain was clear and transparent against the 
light from the station. A porter came out from under 
the shelter of the station, his shoulders up against the 

"No," I said. "Thanks. I don't need thee." 

He went back under the shelter of the archway. I 
turned to Catherine. Her face was in the shadow from 
the hood of the carriage. 

"We might as well say good-by." 

"I can't go in?" 


"Good-by, Cat." 

"Will you tell him the hospital?" 


I told the driver the address to drive to. He 

"Good-by," I said. "Take good care of yourself and 
young Catherine." 

"Good-by, darling." 

"Good-by," I said. I stepped out into the rain and 
the carriage started. Catherine leaned out and I saw 
her face in the light. She smiled and waved. The 
carriage went up the street, Catherine pointed in to- 
ward the archway. I looked, there were only the two 
carabinieri and the archway. I realized she meant for 
me to get in out of the rain. I went in and stood and 
watched the carriage turn the corner. Then I started 


through the station and down the runway to the train. 

The porter was on the platform looking for me. I 
followed him into the train, crowding past people and 
along the aisle and in through a door to where the 
machine-gunner sat in the corner of a full compart- 
ment. My rucksack and musettes were above his head 
on the luggage rack. There were many men standing 
in the corridor and the men in the compartment all 
looked at us when we came in. There were not enough 
places in the train and every one was hostile. The ma- 
chine-gunner stood up for me to sit down. Some one 
tapped me on the shoulder. I looked around. It was 
a very tall gaunt captain of artillery with a red scar 
along his jaw. He had looked through the glass on the 
corridor and then come in. 

"What do you say?" I asked. I had turned and 
faced him. He was taller than I and his face was 
very thin under the shadow of his cap-visor and the' 
scar was new and shiny. Every one in the compart- 
ment was looking at me. 

"You can't do that," he said. "You can't have a 
soldier save you a place." 

"I have done it." 

He swallowed and I saw his Adam's apple go up 
and then down. The machine-gunner stood in front of 
the place. Other men looked in through the glass. No 
one in the compartment said anything. 

"You have no right to do that. I was here two hours 
before you came." 

"What do you want?" 

"The seat." 

"So do I." 

I watched his face and could feel the whole com- 
partment against me. I did not blame them. He was 


in the right. But I wanted the seat. Still no one said 

Oh, hell, I thought. 

"Sit down, Signor Capitano," I said. The machine- 
gunner moved out of the way and the tall captain sat 
down. He looked at me. His face seemed hurt. But 
he had the seat "Get my things," I said to the ma- 
chine-gunner. We went out in the corridor. The train 
was full and I knew there was no chance of a place. I 
gave the porter and the machine-gunner ten lire apiece. 
They went down the corridor and outside on the plat- 
form looking in the windows but there were no places. 

"Maybe some will get off at Brescia," the porter 

"More will get on at Brescia," said the machine- 
gunner. I said good-by to them and we shook hands 
and they left They both felt badly. Inside the train 
we were all standing in the corridor when the train 
started. I watched the lights of the station and the 
yards as we went out. It was still raining and soon the 
windows were wet and you could not see out. Later 
I slept on the floor of the corridor; first putting my 
pocket-book with my money and papers in it inside my 
shirt and trousers so that it was inside the leg of my 
breeches. I slept all night, waking at Brescia and 
Verona when more men got on the train, but going back 
to sleep at once. I had my head on one of the musettes 
and my arms around the other and I could feel the 
pack and they could all walk over me if they wouldn't 
step on me. Men were sleeping on the floor all down 
the corridor. Others stood holding on to the window 
rods or leaning against the doors. That train was al- 
ways crowded. 



Now in the fall the trees were all bare and the roads 
were muddy. I rode to Gorizia from Udine on a 
camion. We passed other camions on the road and I 
looked at the country. The mulberry trees were bare 
and the fields were brown. There were wet dead leaves 
on the road from the rows of bare trees and men were 
working on the road, tamping stone in the ruts from 
piles of crushed stone along the side of the road be- 
tween the trees. We saw the town with a mist over it 
that cut off the mountains. We crossed the river and I 
saw that it was running high. It had been raining in 
the mountains. We came into the town past the fac- 
tories and then the houses and villas and I saw that 
many more houses had been hit On a narrow street we 
passed a British Red Cross ambulance. The driver 
wore a cap and his face was thin and very tanned. I 
did not know him. I got down from the camion in 
the big square in front of the Town Major's house, the 
driver handed down my rucksack and I put it on and 
swung on the two musettes and walked to our villa. It 
did not feel like a homecoming. 

I walked down the damp gravel driveway looking 
at the villa through the trees. The windows were all 
shut but the door was open. I went in and found the 
major sitting at a table in the bare room with maps and 
typed sheets of paper on the wall. 

"Hello," he said. "How are you?" He looked older 
and drier. 

"I'm good," I said. "How is everything?" 

"It's all over," he said. "Take off your kit and sit 


down." I put my pack and the two musettes on the 
floor and my cap on the pack. I brought the other 
chair over from the wall and sat down by the desk. 

"It's been a bad summer," the major said. "Are you 
strong now ?" 


"Did you ever get the decorations?" 

"Yes. I got them fine. Thank you very much." 

"Let's see them." 

I opened my cape so he could see the two ribbons. 

"Did you get the boxes with the medals?" 

"No. Just the papers." 

"The boxes will come later. That takes more time." 

"What do you want me to do?" 

"The cars are all away. There are six up north at 
Caporetto. You know Caporetto?" 

"Yes," I said. I remembered it as a little white town 
with a campanile in a valley. It was a clean little town 
and there was a fine fountain in the square. 

"They are working from there. There are many sick 
now. The fighting is over." 

"Where are the others?" 

"There are two up in the mountains and four still 
on the Bainsizza. The other two ambulance sections 
are in the Carso with the third army." 

"What do you wish me to do?" 

"You can go and take over the four cars on the 
Bainsizza if you like. Gino has been up there a long 
time. You haven't seen it up there, have you?" 


"It was very bad. We lost three cars." 

"I heard about it." 

"Yes, Rinaldi wrote you." 


"Where is Rinaldi?" 

"He is here at the hospital. He has had a summer 
and fall of it" 

"I believe it." 

"It has been bad," the major said. "You couldn't 
believe how bad it's been. I've often thought you were 
lucky to be hit when you were." 

"I know I was." 

"Next year will be worse," the major said. "Per- 
haps they will attack now. They say they are to attack 
but I can't believe it. It is too late. You saw the 

"Yes. It's high already." 

"I don't believe they will attack now that the rains 
have started. We will have the snow soon. What 
about your countrymen? Will there be other Ameri- 
cans besides yourself?" 

"They are training an army of ten million." 

"I hope we get some of them. But the French will 
hog them all. We'll never get any down here. All 
right. You stay here to-night and go out to-morrow 
with the little car and send Gino back. I'll send some- 
body with you that knows the road. Gino will tell you 
everything. They are shelling quite a little still but it 
is all over. You will want to see the Bainsizza." 

"I'm glad to see it. I am glad to be back with you 
again, Signor Maggiore." 

He smiled. "You are very good to say so. I am 
very tired of this war* If I was away I do not believe 
I would come back." 

"Is it so bad?" 

"Yes. It is so bad and worse. Go get cleaned up 
and find your friend Rinaldi." 

I went out and carried my bags up the stairs. Ri- 


naldi was not in the room but his things were there and 
I sat down on the bed and unwrapped my puttees and 
took the shoe off my right foot. Then I lay back on the 
bed. I was tired and my right foot hurt. It seemed 
silly to lie on the bed with one shoe off, so I sat up and 
unlaced the other shoe and dropped it on the floor, then 
lay back on the blanket again. The room was stuffy 
with the window closed but I was too tired to get up 
and open it. I saw my things were all in one corner of 
the room. Outside it was getting dark. I lay on the 
bed and thought about Catherine and waited for Ri- 
naldi. I was going to try not to think about Catherine 
except at night before I went to sleep. But now I was 
tired and there was nothing to do, so I lay and thought 
about her. I was thinking about her when Rinaldi 
came in. He looked just the same. Perhaps he was a 
little thinner. 

"Well, baby," he said. I sat up on the bed. He 
came over, sat down and put his arm around me. 
"Good old baby." He whacked me on the back and 
I held both his arms. 

"Old baby," he said. "Let me see your knee." 

"I'll have to take off my pants." 

"Take off your pants, baby. We're all friends here. 
I want to see what kind of a job they did." I stood up, 
took off the breeches and pulled off the knee-brace. 
Rinaldi sat on the floor and bent the knee gently back 
and forth. He ran his finger along the scar; put his 
thumbs together over the kneecap and rocked the knee 
gently with his fingers. 

"Is that all the articulation you have?" 


"It's a crime to send you back. They ought to get 
complete articulation." 


"It's a lot better than it was. It was stiff as a 

Rinaldi bent it more. I watched his hands. He had 
fine surgeon's hands. I looked at the top of his head, 
his hair shiny and parted smoothly. He bent the knee 
too far. 

"Ouch!" I said. 

"You ought to have more treatment on it with the 
machines," Rinaldi said. 

"It's better than it was." 

"I see that, baby. This is something I know more 
about than you." He stood up and sat down on the 
bed. "The knee itself is a good job." He was through 
with the knee. "Tell me all about everything." 

"There's nothing to tell," I said. "I've led a quiet 

"You act like a married man," he said. "What's the 
matter with you?" 

"Nothing," I said. "What's the matter with you?" 

"This war is killing me," Rinaldi said, "I am very 
depressed by it." He folded his hands over his knee. 

"Oh," I said. 

"What's the matter? Can't I even have human im- 
pulses ?" 

"No. I can see you've been having a fine time. Tell 

"All summer and all fall I've operated. I work all 
the time. I do everybody's work. All the hard ones 
they leave to me. By God, baby, I am becoming a 
lovely surgeon." 

"That sounds better." 

"I never think. No, by God, I don't think; I oper- 

"That's right." 


"But now, baby, it's all over. I don't operate now 
and I feel like hell. This is a terrible war, baby. You 
believe me when I say it. Now you cheer me up. Did 
you bring the phonograph records ?" 


They were wrapped in paper in a cardboard box in 
my rucksack. I was too tired to get them out. 

"Don't you feel good yourself, baby?" 

"I feel like hell." 

"This war is terrible," Rinaldi said. "Come on. 
We'll both get drunk and be cheerful. Then we'll go 
get the ashes dragged. Then we'll feel fine." 

"I've had the jaundice," I said, "and I can't get 

"Oh, baby, how you've come back to me. You come 
back serious and with a liver. I tell you this war is a 
bad thing. Why did we make it anyway?" 

"We'll have a drink. I don't want to get drunk but 
we'll have a drink." 

Rinaldi went across the room to the washstand and 
brought back two glasses and a bottle of cognac. 

"It's Austrian cognac," he said. "Seven stars. It's 
all they captured on San Gabriele." 

"Were you up there?" 

"No. I haven't been anywhere. I've been here all 
the time operating. Look, baby, this is your old tooth- 
brushing glass. I kept it all the time to remind me of 

"To remind you to brush your teeth." 

"No. I have my own too. I kept this to remind 
me of you trying to brush away the Villa Rossa from 
your teeth in the morning, swearing and eating aspi- 
rin and cursing harlots. Every time I see that glass I 
think of you trying to clean your conscience with a 


toothbrush." He came over to the bed. "Kiss me 
once and tell me you're not serious." 

"I never kiss you. You're an ape." 

"I know, you are the fine good Anglo-Saxon boy. I 
know. You are the remorse boy, I know. I will wait 
till I see the Anglo-Saxon brushing away harlotry 
with a toothbrush." 

"Put some cognac in the glass." 

We touched glasses and drank. Rinaldi laughed at 

"I will get you drunk and take out your liver and put 
you in a good Italian liver and make you a man 

I held the glass for some more cognac. It was dark 
outside now. Holding the glass of cognac, I went over 
and opened the window. The rain had stopped falling. 
It was colder outside and there was a mist in the trees. 

"Don't throw the cognac out the window," Rinaldi 
said. "If you can't drink it give it to me." 

"Go something yourself," I said. I was glad to see 
Rinaldi again. He had spent two years teasing me and 
I had always liked it. We understood each other very 

"Are you married?" he asked from the bed. I was 
standing against the wall by the window. 

"Not yet." 

"Are you in love?" 


"With that English girl?" 


"Poor baby. Is she good to you?" 

"Of course." 

"I mean is she good to you practically speaking?" 

"Shut up." 


"I will. You will see I am a man of extreme deli- 
cacy. Does she ?" 

"Rinin," I said. "Please shut up. If you want to 
be my friend, shut up." 

"I don't want to be your friend, baby. I am your 

"Then shut up." 

"All right." 

I went over to the bed and sat down beside Rinaldi. 
He was holding his glass and looking at the floor. 

"You see how it is, Rinin?" 

"Oh, yes. All my life I encounter sacred subjects. 
But very few with you. I suppose you must have them 
too." He looked at the floor. 

"You haven't any?" 


"Not any?" 


"I can say this about your mother and that about 
your sister?" 

"And that about your sister/' Rinaldi said swiftly. 
We both laughed. 

"The old superman," I said. 

"I am jealous maybe," Rinaldi said. 

"No, you're not." 

"I don't mean like that. I mean something else. 
Have you any married friends?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"I haven't," Rinaldi said. "Not if they love each 

"Why not?" 

"They don't like me." 

"Why not?" 


"I am the snake. I am the snake of reason." 

"You're getting it mixed. The apple was reason." 

"No, it was the snake." He was more cheerful. 

"You are better when you don't think so deeply," I 

"I love you, baby," he said. "You puncture me when 
I become a great Italian thinker. But I know many 
things I can't say. I know more than you." 

"Yes. You do." 

"But you will have a better time. Even with re- 
morse you will have a better time." 

"I don't think so." 

"Oh, yes. That is true. Already I am only happy 
when I am working." He looked at the floor again. 

"You'll get over that." 

"No. I only like two other things; one is bad for 
my work and the other is over in half an hour or 
fifteen minutes. Sometimes less." 

"Sometimes a good deal less." 

"Perhaps I have improved, baby. You do not know. 
But there are only the two things and my work." 

"You'll get other things." 

"No. We never get anything. We are born with all 
we have and we never learn. We never get anything 
new. We all start complete. You should be glad not 
to be a Latin." 

"There's no such thing as a Latin. That is 'Latin' 
thinking. You are so proud of your defects." Rinaldi 
looked up and laughed. 

"We'll stop, baby. I am tired from thinking so 
much." He had looked tired when he came in. "It's 
nearly time to eat. I'm glad you're back. You are my 
best friend and my war brother." 

"When do the war brothers eat?" I asked. 


"Right away. We'll drink once more for your liver's 

"Like Saint Paul." 

"You are inaccurate. That was wine and the stom- 
ach. Take a little wine for your stomach's sake." 

"Whatever you have in the bottle," I said. "For 
any sake you mention." 

"To your girl," Rinaldi said. He held out his glass. 

"All right." 

"I'll never say a dirty thing about her." 

"Don't strain yourself." 

He drank off the cognac. "I am pure," he said. 
"I am like you, baby. I will get an English girl too. 
As a matter of fact I knew your girl first but she was 
a little tall for me. A tall girl for a sister," he quoted. 

"You have a lovely pure mind," I said. 

"Haven't I ? That's why they call me Rinaldo Puris- 

"Rinaldo Sporchissimo." 

"Come on, baby, we'll go down to eat while my mind 
is still pure." 

I washed, combed my hair and we went down the 
stairs. Rinaldi was a little drunk. In the room where 
we ate, the meal was not quite ready. 

"I'll go get the bottle," Rinaldi said. He went off 
up the stairs. I sat at the table and he came back with 
the bottle and poured us each a half tumbler of cognac. 

"Too much," I said and held up the glass and sighted 
at the lamp on the table. 

"Not for an empty stomach. It is a wonderful thing. 
It burns out the stomach completely. Nothing is worse 
for you." 

"All right." 


"Self-destruction day by day," Rinaldi said. "It 
ruins the stomach and makes the hand shake. Just the 
thing for a surgeon." 

"You recommend it?" 

"Heartily. I use no other. Drink it down, baby, and 
look forward to being sick." 

I drank half the glass. In the hall I could hear the 
orderly calling. "Soup! Soup is ready!" 

The major came in, nodded to us and sat down. He 
seemed very small at table. 

"Is this all we are?" he asked. The orderly put the 
soup bowl down and he ladled out a plate full. 

"We are all," Rinaldi said. "Unless the priest 
comes. If he knew Federico was here he would be 

"Where is he?" I asked. 

"He's at 307," the major said. He was busy with 
his soup. He wiped his mouth, wiping his upturned 
gray mustache carefully. "He will come I think. I 
called them and left word to tell him you were here." 

"I miss the noise of the mess," I said. 

"Yes, it's quiet," the major said. 

"I will be noisy," said Rinaldi. 

"Drink some wine, Enrico," said the major. He 
filled my glass. The spaghetti came in and we were all 
busy. We were finishing the spaghetti when the priest 
came in. He was the same as ever, small and brown 
and compact looking. I stood up and we shook hands. 
He put his hand on my shoulder. 

"I came as soon as I heard," he said. 

"Sit down," the major said. "You're late." 

"Good-evening, priest," Rinaldi said, using the Eng- 
lish word. They had taken that up from the priest-bait- 
ing captain, who spoke a little English. "Good-evening, 


Rinaldo," the priest said. The orderly brought him 
soup but he said he would start with the spaghetti. 

"How are you?" he asked me. 

"Fine," I said. "How have things been?" 

"Drink some wine, priest," Rinaldi said. "Take a lit- 
tle wine for your stomach's sake. That's Saint Paul, 
you know." 

"Yes I know," said the priest politely. Rinaldi filled 
his glass. 

"That Saint Paul," said Rinaldi. "He's the one who 
makes all the trouble." The priest looked at me and 
smiled. I could see that the baiting did not touch him 

"That Saint Paul," Rinaldi said. "He was a rounder 
and a chaser and then when he was no longer hot he 
said it was no good. When he was finished he made 
the rules for us who are still hot. Isn't it true, Fede- 

The major smiled. We were eating meat stew now. 

"I never discuss a Saint after dark," I said. The 
priest looked up from the stew and smiled at me. 

"There he is, gone over with the priest," Rinaldi 
said. "Where are all the good old priest-baiters? 
Where is Cavalcanti? Where is Brundi? Where is 
Cesare? Do I have to bait this priest alone without 

"He is a good priest," said the major. 

"He is a good priest," said Rinaldi. "But still a 
priest. I try to make the mess like the old days. I want 
to make Federico happy. To hell with you, priest!" 

I saw the major look at him and notice that he was 
drunk. His thin face was white. The line of his hair 
was very black against the white of his forehead. 


"It's all right, Rinaldo," said the priest. "It's all 

"To hell with you," said Rinaldi. "To hell with the 
whole damn business." He sat back in his chair. 

"He's been under a strain and he's tired," the major 
said to me. He finished his meat and wiped up the 
gravy with a piece of bread. 

"I don't give a damn," Rinaldi said to the table. "To 
hell with the whole business." He looked defiantly 
around the table, his eyes flat, his face pale. 

"All right," I said. "To hell with the whole damn 

"No, no," said Rinaldi. "You can't do it. You can't 
do it. I say you can't do it. You're dry and you're 
empty and there's nothing else. There's nothing else I 
tell you. Not a damned thing. I know, when I stop 

The priest shook his head. The orderly took away 
the stew dish. 

"What are you eating meat for?" Rinaldi turned 
to the priest. "Don' you know it's Friday?" 

"It's Thursday," the priest said. 

"It's a lie. It's Friday. You're eating the body of 
our Lord. It's God-meat. I know. It's dead Austrian. 
That's what you're eating." 

"The white meat is from officers," I said, completing 
the old joke. 

Rinaldi laughed. He filled his glass. 

"Don't mind me," he said. "I'm just a little crazy." 

"You ought to have a leave," the priest said. 

The major shook his head at him. Rinaldi looked at 
the priest. 

"You think I ought to have a leave?" 


The major shook his head at the priest. Rinaldi was 
looking at the priest. 

"Just as you like/' the priest said. "Not if you don't 

"To hell with you," Rinaldi said. "They try to get 
rid of me. Every night they try to get rid of me. I 
fight them off. What if I have it. Everybody has it. 
The whole world's got it. First," he went on, assum- 
ing the manner of a lecturer, "it's a little pimple. Then 
we notice a rash between the shoulders. Then we notice 
nothing at all. We put our faith in mercury." 

"Or salvarsan," the major interrupted quietly. 

"A mercurial product," Rinaldi said. He acted very 
elated now. "I know something worth two of that. 
Good old priest," he said. "You'll never get it. Baby 
will get it. It's an industrial accident. It's a simple 
industrial accident." 

The orderly brought in the sweet and coffee. The 
dessert was a sort of black bread pudding with hard 
sauce. The lamp was smoking ; the black smoke going 
close up inside the chimney. 

"Bring two candles and take away the lamp," the 
major said. The orderly brought two lighted candles 
each in a saucer, and took out the lamp blowing it out. 
Rinaldi was quiet now. He seemed all right. We 
talked and after the coffee we all went out into the hall. 

"You want to talk to the priest. I have to go in the 
town," Rinaldi said. "Good-night, priest." 

"Good-night, Rinaldo," the priest said. 

"I'll see you Fredi," Rinaldi said. 

"Yes," I said. "Come in early." He made a face and 
went out the door. The major was standing with us. 
"He's very tired and overworked," he said. "He thinks 
too he has syphilis. I don't believe it but he may have. 


He is treating himself for it. Good-night. You will 
leave before daylight, Enrico ?" 


"Good-by then," he said. "Good luck. Peduzzi will 
wake you and go with you." 

"Good-by, Signor Maggiore." 

"Good-by. They talk about an Austrian offensive 
but I don't believe it. I hope not. But anyway it won't 
be here. Gino will tell you everything. The telephone 
works well now." 

'Til call regularly." 

"Please do. Good-night. Don't let Rinaldi drink so 
much brandy." 

"I'll try not to." 

"Good-night, priest." 

"Good-night, Signor Maggiore." 

He went off into his office. 


I went to the door and looked out. It had stopped 
raining but there was a mist. 

"Should we go upstairs ?" I asked the priest. 

"I can only stay a little while." 

"Come on up." 

We climbed the stairs and went into my room. I lay 
down on Rinaldi's bed. The priest sat on my cot that 
the orderly had set up. It was dark in the room. 

"Well," he said, "how are you really?" 

"I'm all right. I'm tired to-night." 

"I'm tired too, but from no cause." 

"What about the war?" 

"I think it will be over soon. I don't know why, but 
I feel it." 

"How do you feel it?" 

"You know how your major is? Gentle? Many 
people are like that now." 

"I feel that way myself," I said. 

"It has been a terrible summer," said the priest. He 
was surer of himself now than when I had gone away. 
"You cannot believe how it has been. Except that you 
have been there and you know how it can be. Many 
people have realized the war this summer. Officers 
whom I thought could never realize it realize it now." 

"What will happen?" I stroked the blanket with my 

"I do not know but I do not think it can go on much 

"What will happen?" 

"They will stop fighting." 



"Both sides." 

"I hope so," I said. 

"You don't believe it?" 

"I don't believe both sides will stop fighting at once." 

"I suppose not. It is too much to expect. But when 
I see the changes in men I do not think it can go on." 

"Who won the fighting this summer?" 

"No one." 

"The Austrians won," I said. "They kept them from 
taking San Gabriele. They've won. They won't stop 

"If they feel as we feel they may stop. They have 
gone through the same thing." 

"No one ever stopped when they were winning." 

"You discourage me." 

"I can only say what I think." 

"Then you think it will go on and on? Nothing will 
ever happen?" 

"I don't know. I only think the Austrians will not 
stop when they have won a victory. It is in defeat that 
we become Christian." 

"The Austrians are Christians — except for the Bos- 

"I don't mean technically Christian. I mean like Our 

He said nothing. 

"We are all gentler now because we are beaten. 
How would Our Lord have been if Peter had rescued 
him in the Garden?" 

"He would have been just the same." 

"I don't think so," I said. 

"You discourage me," he said. "I believe and I pray 
that something will happen. I have felt it very close." 


"Something may happen," I said. "But it will hap- 
pen only to us. If they felt the way we do, it would be 
all right. But they have beaten us. They feel another 

"Many of the soldiers have always felt this way. It 
is not because they were beaten." 

"They were beaten to start with. They were beaten 
when they took them from their farms and put them 
in the army. That is why the peasant has wisdom, be- 
cause he is defeated from the start. Put him in power 
and see how wise he is." 

He did not say anything. He was thinking. 

"Now I am depressed myself," I said. "That's why 
I never think about these things. I never think and 
yet when I begin to talk I say the things I have found 
out in my mind without thinking." 

"I had hoped for something." 


"No. Something more." 

"There isn't anything more. Except victory. It may 
be worse." 

"I hoped for a long time for victory." 

"Me too." 

"Now I don't know." 

"It has to be one or the other." 

"I don't believe in victory any more." 

"I don't. But I don't believe in defeat. Though it 
may be better." 

"What do you believe in ?" 

"In sleep," I said. He stood up. 

"I am very sorry to have stayed so long. But I like 
so to talk with you." 

"It is very nice to talk again. I said that about sleep- 
ing, meaning nothing." 


We stood up and shook hands in the dark. 

"I sleep at 307 now," he said. 

"I go out on post early to-morrow." 

'Til see you when you come back." 

"We'll have a walk and talk together." I walked 
with him to the door. 

"Don't go down," he said. "It is very nice that you 
are back. Though not so nice for you." He put his 
hand on my shoulder. 

"It's all right for me," I said. "Good-night." 

"Good-night. Ciaou !" 

"Ciaou !" I said. I was deadly sleepy. 


I woke when Rinaldi came in but he did not talk 
and I went back to sleep again. In the morning I was 
dressed and gone before it was light. Rinaldi did not 
wake when I left. 

I had not seen the Bainsizza before and it was strange 
to go up the slope where the Austrians had been, be- 
yond the place on the river where I had been wounded. 
There was a steep new road and many trucks. Beyond, 
the road flattened out and I saw woods and steep hills 
in the mist. There were woods that had been taken 
quickly and not smashed. Then beyond where the road 
was not protected by the hills it was screened by mat- 
ting on the sides and over the top. The road ended in 
a wrecked village. The lines were up beyond. There 
was much artillery around. The houses were badly 
smashed but things were very well organized and there 
were signboards everywhere. We found Gino and he 
got us some coffee and later I went with him and met 
various people and saw the posts. Gino said the Brit- 
ish cars were working further down the Bainsizza at 
Ravne. He had great admiration for the British. There 
was still a certain amount of shelling, he said, but not 
many wounded. There would be many sick now the 
rains had started. The Austrians were supposed to at- 
tack but he did not believe it. We were supposed to at- 
tack too, but they had not brought up any new troops 
so he thought that was off too. Food was scarce and 
he would be glad to get a full meal in Gorizia. What 
kind of supper had I had? I told him and he said that 



would be wonderful. He was especially impressed by 
the dolce. I did not describe it in detail, only said it 
was a dolce, and I think he believed it was something 
more elaborate than bread pudding. 

Did I know where he was going to go? I said I 
didn't but that some of the other cars were at Capo- 
retto. He hoped he would go up that way. It was a 
nice little place and he liked the high mountain hauling 
up beyond. He was a nice boy and every one seemed 
to like him. He said where it really had been hell was 
at San Gabriele and the attack beyond Lorn that had 
gone bad. He said the Austrians had a great amount 
of artillery in the woods along Ternova ridge beyond 
and above us, and shelled the roads badly at night. 
There was a battery of naval guns that had gotten on 
his nerves. I would recognize them because of their 
flat trajectory. You heard the report and then the 
shriek commenced almost instantly. They usually fired 
two guns at once, one right after the other, and the 
fragments from the burst were enormous. He showed 
me one, a smoothly jagged piece of metal over a foot 
long. It looked like babbiting metal. 

"I don't suppose they are so effective," Gino said. 
"But they scare me. They all sound as though they 
came directly for you. There is the boom, then in- 
stantly the shriek and burst. What's the use of not be- 
ing wounded if they scare you to death?" 

He said there were Croats in the lines opposite us 
now and some Magyars. Our troops were still in the 
attacking positions. There was no wire to speak of and 
no place to fall back to if there should be an Austrian 
attack. There were fine positions for defense along the 
low mountains that came up out of the plateau but 
nothing had been done about organizing them for de- 


fense. What did I think about the Bainsizza anyway? 

I had expected it to be flatter, more like a plateau. 
I had not realized it was so broken up. 

"Alto piano," Gino said, "but no piano." 

We went back to the cellar of the house where he 
lived. I said I thought a ridge that flattened out on 
top and had a little depth would be easier and more 
practical to hold than a succession of small mountains. 
It was no harder to attack up a mountain than on the 
level, I argued. "That depends on the mountains," he 
said. "Look at San Gabriele." 

"Yes," I said, "but where they had trouble was at 
the top where it was flat. They got up to the top easy 

"Not so easy," he said. 

"Yes," I said, "but that was a special case because 
it was a fortress rather than a mountain, anyway. The 
Austrians had been fortifying it for years." I meant 
tactically speaking in a war where there was some 
movement a succession of mountains were nothing to 
hold as a line because it was too easy to turn them. 
You should have possible mobility and a mountain is 
not very mobile. Also, people always over-shoot down 
hill. If the flank were turned, the best men would be 
left on the highest mountains. I did not believe in a 
war in mountains. I had thought about it a lot, I said. 
You pinched off one mountain and they pinched off an- 
other but when something really started every one had 
to get down off the mountains. 

What were you going to do if you had a mountain 
frontier? he asked. 

I had not worked that out yet, I said, and we both 
laughed. "But," I said, "in the old days the Austrians 
were always whipped in the quadrilateral around Ve- 


rona. They let them come down onto the plain and 
whipped them there.' ' 

"Yes," said Gino. "But those were Frenchmen and 
you can work out military problems clearly when you 
are fighting in somebody else's country." 

"Yes," I agreed, "when it is your own country you 
cannot use it so scientifically." 

"The Russians did, to trap Napoleon." 

"Yes, but they had plenty of country. If you tried 
to retreat to trap Napoleon in Italy you would find 
yourself in Brindisi." 

"A terrible place," said Gino. "Have you ever been 

"Not to stay." 

"I am a patriot," Gino said. "But I cannot love 
Brindisi or Taranto." 

"Do you love the Bainsizza?" I asked. 

"The soil is sacred," he said. "But I wish it grew 
more potatoes. You know when we came here we 
found fields of potatoes the Austrians had planted." 

"Has the food really been short?" 

"I myself have never had enough to eat but I am a 
big eater and I have not starved. The mess is average. 
The regiments in the line get pretty good food but those 
in support don't get so much. Something is wrong 
somewhere. There should be plenty of food." 

"The dogfish are selling it somewhere else." 

"Yes, they give the battalions in the front line as 
much as they can but the ones in back are very short. 
They have eaten all the Austrians' potatoes and chest- 
nuts from the woods. They ought to feed them better. 
We are big eaters. I am sure there is plenty of food. 
It is very bad for the soldiers to be short of food 


Have you ever noticed the difference it makes in the 
way you think ?" 

"Yes," I said. "It can't win a war but it can lose 

"We won't talk about losing. There is enough talk 
about losing. What has been done this summer cannot 
have been done in vain." 

I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed 
by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the ex- 
pression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes stand- 
ing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the 
shouted words came through, and had read them, on 
proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over 
other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had 
seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious 
had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stock- 
yards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat 
except to bury it. There were many words that you 
could not stand to hear and finally only the names of 
places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same 
way and certain dates and these with the names of the 
places were all you could say and have them mean any- 
thing. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, 
or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of 
villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the 
numbers of regiments and the dates. Gino was a pa- 
triot, so he said things that separated us sometimes, 
but he was also a fine boy and I understood his being a 
patriot. He was born one. He left with Peduzzi in the 
car to go back to Gorizia. 

It stormed all that day. The wind drove down the 
rain and everywhere there was standing water and 
mud. The plaster of the broken houses was gray and 
wet. Late in the afternoon the rain stopped and from 


out number two post I saw the bare wet autumn coun- 
try with clouds over the tops of the hills and the straw 
screening over the roads wet and dripping. The sun 
came out once before it went down and shone on the 
bare woods beyond the ridge. There were many Aus- 
trian guns in the woods on that ridge but only a few 
fired. I watched the sudden round puffs of shrapnel 
smoke in the sky above a broken farmhouse near where 
the line was ; soft puffs with a yellow white flash in the 
centre. You saw the flash, then heard the crack, then 
saw the smoke ball distort and thin in the wind. There 
were many iron shrapnel balls in the rubble of the 
houses and on the road beside the broken house where 
the post was, but they did not shell near the post that 
afternoon. We loaded two cars and drove down the 
road that was screened with wet mats and the last of 
the sun came through in the breaks between the strips 
of mattings. Before we were out on the clear road be- 
hind the hill the sun was down. We went on down the 
clear road and as it turned a corner into the open and 
went into the square arched tunnel of matting the rain 
started again. 

The wind rose in the night and at three o'clock in the 
morning with the rain coming in sheets there was a 
bombardment and the Croatians came over across the 
mountain meadows and through patches of woods and 
into the front line. They fought in the dark in the rain 
and a counter-attack of scared men from the second 
line drove them back. There was much shelling and 
many rockets in the rain and machine-gun and rifle 
fire all along the line. They did not come again and it 
was quieter and between the gusts of wind and rain 
we could hear the sound of a great bombardment far 
to the north. 


The wounded were coming into the post, some were 
carried on stretchers, some walking and some were 
brought on the backs of men that came across the field. 
They were wet to the skin and all were scared. We 
filled two cars with stretcher cases as they came up from 
the cellar of the post and as I shut the door of the sec- 
ond car and fastened it I felt the rain on my face turn 
to snow. The flakes were coming heavy and fast in the 

When daylight came the storm was still blowing but 
the snow had stopped. It had melted as it fell on the 
wet ground and now it was raining again. There was 
another attack just after daylight but it was unsuccess- 
ful. We expected an attack all day but it did not come 
until the sun was going down. The bombardment 
started to the south below the long wooded ridge where 
the Austrian guns were concentrated. We expected a 
bombardment but it did not come. It was getting dark. 
Guns were firing from the field behind the village and 
the shells, going away, had a comfortable sound. 

We heard that the attack to the south had been un- 
successful. They did not attack that night but we heard 
that they had broken through to the north. In the night 
word came that we were to prepare to retreat. The cap- 
tain at the post told me this. He had it from the Bri- 
gade. A little while later he came from the telephone 
and said it was a lie. The Brigade had received orders 
that the line of the Bainsizza should be held no matter 
what happened. I asked about the break through and 
he said that he had heard at the Brigade that the Aus- 
trians had broken through the twenty-seventh army 
corps up toward Caporetto. There had been a great 
battle in the north all day. 

"If those bastards let them through we .are cooked," 
he said. 


"It's Germans that are attacking," one of the medi- 
cal officers said. The word Germans was something 
to be frightened of. We did not want to have any- 
thing to do with the Germans. 

"There are fifteen divisions of Germans/' the medi- 
cal officer said. "They have broken through and we will 
be cut off." 

"At the Brigade, they say this line is to be held. They 
say they have not broken through badly and that we 
will hold a line across the mountains from Monte Mag- 

"Where do they hear this?" 

"From the Division." 

"The word that we were to retreat came from the 

"We work under the Army Corps," I said. "But 
here I work under you. Naturally when you tell me to 
go I will go. But get the orders straight." 

"The orders are that we stay here. You clear the 
wounded from here to the clearing station." 

"Sometimes we clear from the clearing station to 
the field hospitals too," I said. "Tell me, I have never 
seen a retreat — if there is a retreat how are all the 
wounded evacuated?" 

"They are not. They take as many as they can and 
leave the rest." 

"What will I take in the cars?" 

"Hospital equipment." 

"All right," I said. 

The next night the retreat started. We heard that 
Germans and Austrians had broken through in the 
north and were coming down the mountain valleys to- 
ward Cividale and Udine. The retreat was orderly, 
wet and sullen. In the night, going slowly along the 
crowded roads we passed troops marching under the 


rain, guns, horses pulling wagons, mules, motor trucks, 
all moving away from the front. There was no more 
disorder than in an advance. 

That night we helped empty the field hospitals that 
had been set up in the least ruined villages of the pla- 
teau, taking the wounded down to Plava on the river- 
bed: and the next day hauled all day in the rain to 
evacuate the hospitals and clearing station at Plava. 
It rained steadily and the army of the Bainsizza moved 
down off the plateau in the October rain and across the 
river where the great victories had commenced in the 
spring of that year. We came into Gorizia in the mid- 
dle of the next day. The rain had stopped and the town 
was nearly empty. As we came up the street they were 
loading the girls from the soldiers' whorehouse into a 
truck. There were seven girls and they had on their 
hats and coats and carried small suitcases. Two of 
them were crying. Of the others one smiled at us and 
put out her tongue and fluttered it up and down. She 
had thick full lips and black eyes. 

I stopped the car and went over and spoke to the ma- 
tron. The girls from the officers' house had left early 
that morning, she said. Where were they going? To 
Conegliano, she said. The truck started. The girl with 
thick lips put out her tongue again at us. The matron 
waved. The two girls kept on crying. The others 
looked interestedly out at the town. I got back in the 

"We ought to go with them," Bonello said. "That 
would be a good trip." 

"We'll have a good trip," I said. 

"We'll have a hell of a trip." 

"That's what I mean," I said. We came up the drive 
to the villa. 


"I'd like to be there when some of those tough ba- 
bies climb in and try and hop them. ,, 

"You think they will?" 

"Sure. Everybody in the Second Army knows that 

We were outside the villa. 

"They call her the Mother Superior," Bonello said. 
"The girls are new but everybody knows her. They 
must have brought them up just before the retreat." 

"They'll have a time." 

"I'll say they'll have a time. I'd like to have a crack 
at them for nothing. They charge too much at that 
house anyway. The government gyps us." 

"Take the car out and have the mechanics go over 
it," I said. "Change the oil and check the differential. 
Fill it up and then get some sleep." 

"Yes, Signor Tenente." 

The villa was empty. Rinaldi was gone with the 
hospital. The major was gone taking hospital person- 
nel in the staff car. There was a note on the window 
for me to fill the cars with the material piled in the hall 
and to proceed to Pordenone. The mechanics were 
gone already. I went out back to the garage. The 
other two cars came in while I was there and their driv- 
ers got down. It was starting to rain again. 

"I'm so sleepy I went to sleep three times com- 
ing here from Plava," Piani said. "What are we going 
to do, Tenente?" 

"We'll change the oil, grease them, fill them up, then 
take them around in front and load up the junk they've 

"Then do we start?" 

"No, we'll sleep for three hours." 


"Christ I'm glad to sleep/' Bonello said. "I couldn't 
keep awake driving." 

"How's your car, Aymo ?" I asked. 

"It's all right." 

"Get me a monkey suit and I'll help you with the 

"Don't you do that, Tenente," Aymo said. "It's 
nothing to do. You go and pack your things." 

"My things are all packed," I said. "I'll go and 
carry out the stuff that they left for us. Bring the 
cars around as soon as they're ready." 

They brought the cars around to the front of the 
villa and we loaded them with the hospital equipment 
which was piled in the hallway. When it was all in, 
the three cars stood in line down the driveway under the 
trees in the rain. We went inside. 

"Make a fire in the kitchen and dry your things," I 

"I don't care about dry clothes," Piani said. "I want 
to sleep." 

"I'm going to sleep on the major's bed," Bonello 
said. "I'm going to sleep where the old man corks off." 

"I don't care where I sleep," Piani said. 

"There are two beds in here." I opened the door. 

"I never knew what was in that room," Bonello said. 

"That was old fish-face's room," Piani said. 

"You two sleep in there," I said. "I'll wake you." 

"The Austrians will wake us if you sleep too long, 
Tenente," Bonello said. 

"I won't oversleep," I said. "Where's Aymo?" 

"He went out in the kitchen." 

"Get to sleep," I said. 

"I'll sleep," Piani said. "I've been asleep sitting up 


all day. The whole top of my head kept coming down 
over my eyes." 

"Take your boots off," Bonello said. "That's old 
fish-face's bed." 

"Fish-face is nothing to me." Piani lay on the bed, 
his muddy boots straight out, his head on his arm. I 
went out to the kitchen. Aymo had a fire in the stove 
and a kettle of water on. 

"I thought I'd start some pasta asciutta" he said. 
"We'll be hungry when we wake up." 

"Aren't you sleepy, Bartolomeo?" 

"Not so sleepy. When the water boils I'll leave it. 
The fire will go down." 

"You'd better get some sleep," I said. "We can eat 
cheese and monkey meat." 

"This is better," he said. "Something hot will be 
good for those two anarchists. You go to sleep, Ten- 

"There's a bed in the major's room." 

"You sleep there." 

"No, I'm going up to my old room. Do you want 
a drink, Bartolomeo?" 

"When we go, Tenente. Now it wouldn't do me any 

"If you wake in three hours and I haven't called you, 
wake me, will you?" 

"I haven't any watch, Tenente." 

"There's a clock on the wall in the major's room." 

"All right" 

I went out then through the dining-room and the 
hall and up the marble stairs to the room where I had 
lived with Rinaldi. It was raining outside. I went 
to the window and looked out. It was getting dark and 
I saw the three cars standing in line under the trees. 


The trees were dripping in the rain. It was cold and 
the drops hung to the branches. I went back to Ri- 
naldi's bed and lay down and let sleep take me. 

We ate in the kitchen before we started. Aymo had 
a basin of spaghetti with onions and tinned meat 
chopped up in it. We sat around the table and drank 
two bottles of the wine that had been left in the cellar 
of the villa. It was dark outside and still raining. 
Piani sat at the table very sleepy. 

"I like a retreat better than an advance," Bonello 
said. "On a retreat we drink barbera." 

"We drink it now. To-morrow maybe we drink rain- 
water," Aymo said. 

"To-morrow we'll be in Udine. We'll drink cham- 
pagne. That's where the slackers live. Wake up, Piani ! 
We'll drink champagne to-morrow in Udine !" 

"I'm awake," Piani said. He filled his plate with the 
spaghetti and meat. "Couldn't you find tomato sauce, 

"There wasn't any," Aymo said. 

"We'll drink champagne in Udine," Bonello said. 
He filled his glass with the clear red barbera. 

"We may drink before Udine," Piani said. 

"Have you eaten enough, Tenente?" Aymo asked. 

"I've got plenty. Give me the bottle, Bartolomeo." 

"I have a bottle apiece to take in the cars," Aymo 

"Did you sleep at all ?" 

"I don't need much sleep. I slept a little." 

"To-morrow we'll sleep in the king's bed," Bonello 
said. He was feeling very good. 

"To-morrow maybe we'll sleep in ," Piani said. 

"I'll sleep with the queen," Bonello said. He looked 
to see how I took the joke. 


"You'll sleep with ," Piani said sleepily. 

"That's treason, Tenente, ,, Bonello said. "Isn't that 

"Shut up," I said. "You get too funny with a little 
wine." Outside it was raining hard. I looked at my 
watch. It was half -past nine. 

"It's time to roll," I said and stood up. 

"Who are you going to ride with, Tenente?" Bo- 
nello asked. 

"With Aymo. Then you come. Then Piani. We'll 
start out on the road for Cormons." 

"I'm afraid I'll go to sleep," Piani said. 

"All right. I'll ride with you. Then Bonello. Then 

"That's the best way," Piani said. "Because I'm so 

"I'll drive and you sleep awhile." 

"No. I can drive just so long as I know somebody 
will wake me up if I go to sleep." 

"I'll wake you up. Put out the lights, Barto." 

"You might as well leave them," Bonello said. 
"We've got no more use for this place." 

"I have a small locker trunk in my room," I said. 
"Will you help take it down, Piani ?" 

"We'll take it," Piani said. "Come on, Aldo." He 
went off into the hall with Bonello. I heard them go- 
ing upstairs. 

"This was a fine place," Bartolomeo Aymo said. He 
put two bottles of wine and half a cheese into his haver- 
sack. "There won't be a place like this again. Where 
will they retreat to, Tenente?" 

"Beyond the Tagliamento, they say. The hospital and 
the sector are to be at Pordenone." 


"This is a better town than Pordenone." 
"I don't know Pordenone/' I said. "I've just been 
through there." 

"It's not much of a place/' Aymo said. 


As we moved out through the town it was empty in 
the rain and the dark except for columns of troops and 
guns that were going through the main street. There 
were many trucks too and some carts going through on 
other streets and converging on the main road. When 
we were out past the tanneries onto the main road the 
troops, the motor trucks, the horse-drawn carts and the 
guns were in one wide slow-moving column. We moved 
slowly but steadily in the rain, the radiator cap of our 
car almost against the tailboard of a truck that was 
loaded high, the load covered with wet canvas. Then 
the truck stopped. The whole column was stopped. It 
started again and we went a little farther, then stopped. 
I got out and walked ahead, going between the trucks 
and carts and under the wet necks of the horses. The 
block was farther ahead. I left the road, crossed the 
ditch on a footboard and walked along the field beyond 
the ditch. I could see the stalled column between the 
trees in the rain as I went forward across from it in 
the field. I went about a mile. The column did not 
move, although, on the other side beyond the stalled 
vehicles I could see the troops moving. I went back 
to the cars. This block might extend as far as Udine. 
Piani was asleep over the wheel. I climbed up beside 
him and went to sleep too. Several hours later I heard 
the truck ahead of us grinding into gear. I woke Piani 
and we started, moving a few yards, then stopping, 
then going on again. It was still raining. 

The column stalled again in the night and did not 


start. I got down and went back to see Aymo and 
Bonello. Bonello had two sergeants of engineers on 
the seat of his car with him. They stiffened when I 
came up. 

"They were left to do something to a bridge," Bo- 
nello said. "They can't find their unit so I gave them a 

"With the Sir Lieutenant's permission/' 

"With permission," I said. 

"The lieutenant is an American," Bonello said. 
"He'll give anybody a ride." 

One of the sergeants smiled. The other asked Bo- 
nello if I was an Italian from North or South America. 

"He's not an Italian. He's North American Eng- 

The sergeants were polite but did not believe it. I 
left them and went back to Aymo. He had two girls 
on the seat with him and was sitting back in the corner 
and smoking. 

"Barto, Barto," I said. He laughed. 

"Talk to them, Tenente," he said. "I can't understand 
them. Hey!" he put his hand on the girl's thigh and 
squeezed it in a friendly way. The girl drew her shawl 
tight around her and pushed his hand away. "Hey!" 
he said. "Tell the Tenente your name and what you're 
doing here." 

The girl looked at me fiercely. The other girl kept 
her eyes down. The girl who looked at me said some- 
thing in a dialect I could not understand a word of. 
She was plump and dark and looked about sixteen. 

"Sorella?" I asked and pointed at the other girl. 

She nodded her head and smiled. 

"All right," I said and patted her knee. I felt her 
stiffen away when I touched her. The sister never 


looked up. She looked perhaps a year younger. Aymo 
put his hand on the elder girl's thigh and she pushed it 
away. He laughed at her. 

"Good man," he pointed at himself. "Good man," 
he pointed at me. "Don't you worry." The girl looked 
at him fiercely. The pair of them were like two wild 

"What does she ride with me for if she doesn't like 
me?" Aymo asked. "They got right up in the car the 
minute I motioned to them." He turned to the girl. 

"Don't worry," he said. "No danger of ," using 

the vulgar word. "No place for ." I could see she 

understood the word and that was all. Her eyes looked 
at him very scared. She pulled the shawl tight. "Car 

all full," Aymo said. "No danger of . No place 

for ." Every time he said the word the girl stif- 
fened a little. Then sitting stiffly and looking at him 
she began to cry. I saw her lips working and then 
tears came down her plump cheeks. Her sister, not 
looking up, took her hand and they sat there together. 
The older one, who had been so fierce, began to sob. 

"I guess I scared her," Aymo said. "I didn't mean 
to scare her." 

Bartolomeo brought out his knapsack and cut off 
two pieces of cheese. "Here," he said. "Stop crying." 

The older girl shook her head and still cried, but the 
younger girl took the cheese and commenced to eat. 
After a while the younger girl gave her sister the sec- 
ond piece of cheese and they both ate. The older sister 
still sobbed a little. 

"She'll be all right after a while," Aymo said. 

An idea came to him. "Virgin?" he asked the girl 
next to him. She nodded her head vigorously. "Vir- 
gin too ?" he pointed to the sister. Both the girls nod- 


ded their heads and the elder said something in dialect. 

"That's all right," Bartolomeo said. "That's all 

Both the girls seemed cheered. 

I left them sitting together with Aymo sitting back 
in the corner and went back to Piani's car. The column 
of vehicles did not move but the troops kept passing 
alongside. It was still raining hard and I thought some 
of the stops in the movement of the column might be 
from cars with wet wiring. More likely they were 
from horses or men going to sleep. Still, traffic could 
tie up in cities when every one was awake. It was the 
combination of horse and motor vehicles. They did not 
help each other any. The peasants' carts did not help 
much either. Those were a couple of fine girls with 
Barto. A retreat was no place for two virgins. Real 
virgins. Probably very religious. If there were no 
war we would probably all be in bed. In bed I lay me 
down my head. Bed and board. Stiff as a board in 
bed. Catherine was in bed now between two sheets, 
over her and under her. Which side did she sleep on? 
Maybe she wasn't asleep. Maybe she was lying think- 
ing about me. Blow, blow, ye western wind. Well, it 
blew and it wasn't the small rain but the big rain down 
that rained. It rained all night. You knew it rained 
down that rained. Look at it. Christ, that my love were 
in my arms and I in my bed again. That my love Cath- 
erine. That my sweet love Catherine down might rain. 
Blow her again to me. Well, we were in it. Every one 
was caught in it and the small rain would not quiet it. 
"Good-night, Catherine/' I said out loud. "I hope you 
sleep well. If it's too uncomfortable, darling, lie on the 
other side," I said. "I'll get you some cold water. In a 
little while it will be morning and then it won't be so 


bad. I'm sorry he makes you so uncomfortable. Try 
and go to sleep, sweet." 

I was asleep all the time, she said. You've been talk- 
ing in your sleep. Are you all right ? 

Are you really there ? 

Of course I'm here. I wouldn't go way. This 
doesn't make any difference between us. 

You're so lovely and sweet. You wouldn't go away 
in the night, would you ? 

Of course I wouldn't go away. I'm always here. I 
come whenever you want me. 

" ," Piani said. "They've started again." 

"I was dopey," I said. I looked at my watch. It 
was three o'clock in the morning. I reached back be- 
hind the seat for a bottle of the barbera. 

"You talked out loud," Piani said. 

"I was having a dream in English," I said. 

The rain was slacking and we were moving along. 
Before daylight we were stalled again and when it was 
light we were at a little rise in the ground and I saw the 
road of the retreat stretched out far ahead, everything 
stationary except for the infantry filtering through. We 
started to move again but seeing the rate of progress in 
the daylight, I knew we were going to have to get off 
that main road some way and go across country if we 
ever hoped to reach Udine. 

In the night many peasants had joined the column 
from the roads of the country and in the column there 
were carts loaded with household goods; there were 
mirrors projecting up between mattresses, and chickens 
and ducks tied to carts. There was a sewing-machine 
on the cart ahead of us in the rain. They had saved 
the most valuable things. On some carts the women sat 


huddled from the rain and others walked beside the 
carts keeping as close to them as they could. There were 
dogs now in the column, keeping under the wagons as 
they moved along. The road was muddy, the ditches at 
the side were high with water and beyond the trees that 
lined the road the fields looked too wet and too soggy 
to try to cross. I got down from the car and worked 
up the road a way, looking for a place where I could see 
ahead to find a side-road we could take across country. 
I knew there were many side-roads but did not want one 
that would lead to nothing. I could not remember them 
because we had always passed them bowling along in 
the car on the main road and they all looked much 
alike. Now I knew we must find one if we hoped to 
get through. No one knew where the Austrians were 
nor how things were going but I was certain that if 
the rain should stop and planes come over and get to 
work on that column that it would be all over. All that 
was needed was for a few men to leave their trucks or 
a few horses be killed to tie up completely the move- 
ment on the road. 

The rain was not falling so heavily now and I 
thought it might clear. I went ahead along the edge of 
the road and when there was a small road that led off 
to the north between two fields with a hedge of trees 
on both sides, I thought that we had better take it and 
hurried back to the cars. I told Piani to turn off and 
went back to tell Bonello and Aymo. 

"If it leads nowhere we can turn around and cut back 
in," I said. 

"What about these?" Bonello asked. His two ser- 
geants were beside him on the seat. They were un- 
shaven but still military looking in the early morning. 

"They'll be good to push," I said. I went back to 


Aymo and told him we were going to try it across 

"What about my virgin family ?" Aymo asked. The 
two girls were asleep. 

"They won't be very useful," I said. "You ought to 
have some one that could push." 

"They could go back in the car," Aymo said. 
"There's room in the car." 

"All right if you want them," I said. "Pick up some- 
body with a wide back to push." 

"Bersaglieri," Aymo smiled. "They have the widest 
backs. They measure them. How do you feel, Ten- 

"Fine. How are you?" 

"Fine. But very hungry." 

"There ought to be something up that road and we 
will stop and eat." 

"How's your leg, Tenente?" 

"Fine," I said. Standing on the step and looking up 
ahead I could see Piani's car pulling out onto the little 
side-road and starting up it, his car showing through 
the hedge of bare branches. Bonello turned off and 
followed him and then Piani worked his way out and 
we followed the two ambulances ahead along the nar- 
row road between hedges. It led to a farmhouse. We 
found Piani and Bonello stopped in the farmyard. The 
house was low and long with a trellis with a grape-vine 
over the door. There was a well in the yard and Piani 
was getting up water to fill his radiator. So much go- 
ing in low gear had boiled it out. The farmhouse was 
deserted. I looked back down the road, the farmhouse 
was on a slight elevation above the plain, and we could 
see over the country, and saw the road, the hedges, the 
fields and the line of trees along the main road where 


the retreat was passing. The two sergeants were look- 
ing through the house. The girls were awake and look- 
ing at the courtyard, the well and the two big ambu- 
lances in front of the farmhouse, with three drivers at 
the well. One of the sergeants came out with a clock 
in his hand. 

'Tut it back," I said. He looked at me, went in the 
house and came back without the clock. 

" Where's your partner?" I asked. 

"He's gone to the latrine." He got up on the seat of 
the ambulance. He was afraid we would leave him. 

"What about breakfast, Tenente?" Bonello asked. 
"We could eat something. It wouldn't take very long." 

"Do you think this road going down on the other 
side will lead to anything?" 


"All right. Let's eat." Piani and Bonello went in 
the house. 

"Come on," Aymo said to the girls. He held his 
hand to help them down. The older sister shook her 
hecid. They were not going into any deserted house. 
They looked after us. 

"They are difficult," Aymo said. We went into the 
farmhouse together. It was large and dark, an aban- 
doned feeling. Bonello and Piani were in the kitchen. 

"There's not much to eat," Piani said. "They've 
cleaned it out." 

Bonello sliced a big white cheese on the heavy kitchen 

"Where was the cheese?" 

"In the cellar. Piani found wine too and apples." 

"That's a good breakfast." 

Piani was taking the wooden cork out of a big wick- 


er-covered wine jug. He tipped it and poured a copper 
pan full. 

"It smells all right," he said. "Find some beakers, 

The two sergeants came in. 

"Have some cheese, sergeants," Bonello said. 

"We should go," one of the sergeants said, eating his 
cheese and drinking a cup of wine. 

"We'll go. Don't worry," Bonello said. 

"An army travels on its stomach," I said. 

"What?" asked the sergeant. 

"It's better to eat." 

"Yes. But time is precious." 

"I believe the bastards have eaten already," Piani 
said. The sergeants looked at him. They hated the lot 
of us. 

"You know the road?" one of them asked me. 

"No," I said. They looked at each other. 

"We would do best to start," the first one said. 

"We are starting," I said. I drank another cup of 
the red wine. It tasted very good after the cheese and 

"Bring the cheese," I said and went out. Bonello 
came out carrying the great jug of wine. 

"That's too big," I said. He looked at it regretfully. 

"I guess it is," he said. "Give me the canteens to 
fill." He filled the canteens and some of the wine ran 
out on the stone paving of the courtyard. Then he 
picked up the wine jug and put it just inside the door. 

"The Austrians can find it without breaking the door 
down," he said. 

"We'll roll," I said. "Piani and I will go ahead." 
The two engineers were already on the seat beside Bo- 
nello. The girls were eating cheese and apples. Aymo 


was smoking. We started off down the narrow road. 
I looked back at the two cars coming and the farm- 
house. It was a fine, low, solid stone house and the 
ironwork of the well was very good. Ahead of us the 
road was narrow and muddy and there was a high 
hedge on either side. Behind, the cars were following 


At noon we were stuck in a muddy road about, as 
nearly as we could figure, ten kilometres from Udine. 
The rain had stopped during the forenoon and three 
times we had heard planes coming, seen them pass over- 
head, watched them go far to the left and heard them 
bombing on the main highroad. We had worked through 
a network of secondary roads and had taken many roads 
that were blind, but had always, by backing up and find- 
ing another road, gotten closer to Udine. Now, Aymo's 
car, in backing so that we might get out of a blind road, 
had gotten into the soft earth at the side and the wheels, 
spinning, had dug deeper and deeper until the car rested 
on its differential. The thing to do now was to dig out 
in front of the wheels, put in brush so that the chains 
could grip, and then push until the car was on the road. 
We were all down on the road around the car. The 
two sergeants looked at the car and examined the 
wheels. Then they started off down the road without a 
word. I went after them. 

"Come on," I said. "Cut some brush." 

"We have to go," one said. 

"Get busy," I said, "and cut brush." 

"We have to go," one said. The other said nothing. 
They were in a hurry to start. They would not look at 

"I order you to come back to the car and cut brush," 
I said. The one sergeant turned. "We have to go on. 
In a little while you will be cut off. You can't order 
us. You're not our officer." 

"I order you to cut brush," I said. They turned and 
started down the road. 



"Halt," I said. They kept on down the muddy road, 
the hedge on either side. "I order you to halt," I called. 
They went a little faster. I opened up my holster, took 
the pistol, aimed at the one who had talked the most, 
and fired. I missed and they both started to run. I 
shot three times and dropped one. The other went 
through the hedge and was out of sight. I fired at him 
through the hedge as he ran across the field. The pistol 
clicked empty and I put in another clip. I saw it was 
too far to shoot at the second sergeant. He was far 
across the field, running, his head held low. I com- 
menced to reload the empty clip. Bonello came up. 

"Let me go finish him," he said. I handed him the 
pistol and he walked down to where the sergeant of 
engineers lay face down across the road. Bonello leaned 
over, put the pistol against the man's head and pulled 
the trigger. The pistol did not fire. 

"You have to cock it," I said. He cocked it and 
fired twice. He took hold of the sergeant's legs and 
pulled him to the side of the road so he lay beside the 
hedge. He came back and handed me the pistol. 

"The son of a bitch," he said. He looked toward 
the sergeant. "You see me shoot him, Tenente?" 

"We've got to get the brush quickly," I said. "Did 
I hit the other one at all?" 

"I don't think so," Aymo said. "He was too far 
away to hit with a pistol." 

"The dirty scum," Piani said. We were all cutting 
twigs and branches. Everything had been taken out 
of the car. Bonello was digging out in front of the 
wheels. When we were ready Aymo started the car 
and put it into gear. The wheels spun round throwing 
brush and mud. Bonello and I pushed until we could 
feel our joints crack. The car would not move. 


"Rock her back and forth, Barto," I said. 

He drove the engine in reverse, then forward. The 
wheels only dug in deeper. Then the car was resting 
on the differential again, and the wheels spun freely in 
the holes they had dug. I straightened up. 

"We'll try her with a rope," I said. 

"I don't think it's any use, Tenente. You can't get 
a straight pull. ,, 

"We have to try it," I said. "She won't come out 
any other way." 

Piani's and Bonello's cars could only move straight 
ahead down the narrow road. We roped both cars to- 
gether and pulled. The wheels only pulled sideways 
against the ruts. 

"It's no good," I shouted. "Stop it." 

Piani and Bonello got down from their cars and 
came back. Aymo got down. The girls were up the road 
about forty yards sitting on a stone wall. 

"What do you say, Tenente?" Bonello asked. 

"We'll dig out and try once more with the brush," 
I said. I looked down the road. It was my fault I 
had led them up here. The sun was almost out from 
behind the clouds and the body of the sergeant lay be- 
side the hedge. 

"We'll put his coat and cape under," I said. Bonello 
went to get them. I cut brush and Aymo and Piani 
dug out in front and between the wheels. I cut the 
cape, then ripped it in two, and laid it under the wheel 
in the mud, then piled brush for the wheels to catch. 
We were ready to start and Aymo got up on the seat 
and started the car. The wheels spun and we pushed 
and pushed. But it wasn't any use. 

"It's ed," I said. "Is there anything you want 

in the ear, Barto?" 


Aymo climbed up with Bonello, carrying the cheese 
and two bottles of wine and his cape. Bonello, sitting 
behind the wheel, was looking through the pockets of 
the sergeant's coat. 

"Better throw the coat away," I said. "What about 
Barto's virgins ?" 

"They can get in the back," Piani said. "I don't 
think we are going far." 

I opened the back door of the ambulance. 

"Come on," I said. "Get in." The two girls climbed 
in and sat in the corner. They seemed to have taken no 
notice of the shooting. I looked back up the road. The 
sergeant lay in his dirty long-sleeved underwear. I 
got up with Piani and we started. We were going to 
try to cross the field. When the road entered the field 
I got down and walked ahead. If we could get across, 
there was a road on the other side. We could not get 
across. It was too soft and muddy for the cars. When 
they were finally and completely stalled, the wheels 
dug in to the hubs, we left them in the field and started 
on foot for Udine. 

When we came to the road which led back toward 
the main highway I pointed down it to the two girls. 

"Go down there," I said. "You'll meet people." They 
looked at me. I took out my pocket-book and gave them 
each a ten-lira note. "Go down there," I said, pointing. 
"Friends! Family!" 

They did not understand but they held the money 
tightly and started down the road. They looked back 
as though they were afraid I might take the money 
back. I watched them go down the road, their shawls 
close around them, looking back apprehensively at us. 
The three drivers were laughing. 


"How much will you give me to go in that direction, 
Tenente?" Bonello asked. 

"They're better off in a bunch of people than alone 
if they catch them/' I said. 

"Give me two hundred lire and I'll walk straight 
back toward Austria," Bonello said. 

"They'd take it away from you," Piani said. 

"Maybe the war will be over," Aymo said. We were 
going up the road as fast as we could. The sun was 
trying to come through. Beside the road were mul- 
berry trees. Through the trees I could see our two big 
moving-vans of cars stuck in the field. Piani looked 
back too. 

"They'll have to build a road to get them out," he 

"I wish to Christ we had bicycles," Bonello said. 

"Do they ride bicycles in America?" Aymo asked. 

"They used to." 

"Here it is a great thing," Aymo said. "A bicycle is 
a splendid thing." 

"I wish to Christ we had bicycles," Bonello said. "I'm 
no walker." 

"Is that firing?" I asked. I thought I could hear 
firing a long way away. 

"I don't know," Aymo said. He listened. 

"I think so," I said. 

"The first thing we will see will be the cavalry," 
Piani said. 

"I don't think they've got any cavalry." 

"I hope to Christ not," Bonello said. "I don't want 
to be stuck on a lance by any cavalry." 

"You certainly shot that sergeant, Tenente," Piani 
said. We were walking fast. 

"I killed him," Bonello said. "I never killed anybody 


in this war, and all my life I've wanted to kill a ser- 

"You killed him on the sit all right," Piani said. 
"He wasn't flying very fast when you killed him." 

"Never mind. That's one thing I can always remem- 
ber. I killed that of a sergeant." 

"What will you say in confession?" Aymo asked. 

"I'll say, 'Bless me, father, I killed a sergeant/ " They 
all laughed. 

"He's an anarchist," Piani said. "He doesn't go to 

"Piani's an anarchist too," Bonello said. 

"Are you really anarchists?" I asked. 

"No, Tenente. We're socialists. We come from 

"Haven't you ever been there?" 


"By Christ it's a fine place, Tenente. You come 
there after the war and we'll show you something." 

"Are you all socialists?" 


"Is it a fine town?" 

"Wonderful. You never saw a town like that." 

"How did you get to be socialists?" 

"We're all socialists. Everybody is a socialist. 
We've always been socialists." 

"You come, Tenente. We'll make you a socialist 

Ahead the road turned off to the left and there was 
a little hill and, beyond a stone wall, an apple orchard. 
As the road went uphill they ceased talking. We walked 
along together all going fast against time. 


Later we were on a road that led to a river. There 
was a long line of abandoned trucks and carts on the 
road leading up to the bridge. No one was in sight. 
The river was high and the bridge had been blown up 
in the centre; the stone arch was fallen into the river 
and the brown water was going over it. We went on 
up the bank looking for a place to cross. Up ahead I 
knew there was a railway bridge and I thought we 
might be able to get across there. The path was wet 
and muddy. We did not see any troops; only aban- 
doned trucks and stores. Along the river bank there 
was nothing and no one but the wet brush and muddy 
ground. We went up to the bank and finally we saw 
the railway bridge. 

"What a beautiful bridge/' Aymo said. It was a 
long plain iron bridge across what was usually a dry 

"We better hurry and get across before they blow it 
up," I said. 

"There's nobody to blow it up," Piani said. "They're 
all gone." 

"It's probably mined," Bonello said. "You cross 
first, Tenente." 

"Listen to the anarchist," Aymo said. "Make him 
go first." 

"HI go," I said. "It won't be mined to blow up with 
one man." 

"You see," Piani said. "That is brains. Why 
haven't you brains, anarchist?" 



"If I had brains I wouldn't be here," Bonello said. 

"That's pretty good, Tenente," Aymo said. 

"That's pretty good," I said. We were close to the 
bridge now. The sky had clouded over again and it 
was raining a little. The bridge looked long and solid. 
We climbed up the embankment. 

"Come one at a time," I said and started across the 
bridge. I watched the ties and the rails for any trip- 
wires or signs of explosive but I saw nothing. Down 
below the gaps in the ties the river ran muddy and fast. 
Ahead across the wet countryside I could see Udine in 
the rain. Across the bridge I looked back. Just up the 
river was another bridge. As I watched, a yellow mud- 
colored motor car crossed it. The sides of the bridge 
were high and the body of the car, once on, was out of 
sight. But I saw the heads of the driver, the man on 
the seat with him, and the two men on the rear seat. 
They all wore German helmets. Then the car was over 
the bridge and out of sight behind the trees and the 
abandoned vehicles on the road. I waved to Aymo 
who was crossing and to the others to come on. I 
climbed down and crouched beside the railway embank- 
ment. Aymo came down with me. 

"Did you see the car?" I asked. 

"No. We were watching you." 

"A German staff car crossed on the upper bridge." 

"A staff car?" 


"Holy Mary." 

The others came and we all crouched in the mud be- 
hind the embankment, looking across the rails at the 
bridge, the line of trees, the ditch and the road. 

"Do you think we're cut off then, Tenente?" 

"I don't know. All I know is a German staff car 
went along that road." 


"You don't feel funny, Tenente? You haven't got 
strange feelings in the head?" 

"Don't be funny, Bonello. ,, 

"What about a drink ?" Piani asked. "If we're cut 
off we might as well have a drink." He unhooked his 
canteen and uncorked it. 

"Look! Look!" Aymo said and pointed toward the 
road. Along the top of the stone bridge we could see 
German helmets moving. They were bent forward and 
moved smoothly, almost supernaturally, along. As 
they came off the bridge we saw them. They were 
bicycle troops. I saw the faces of the first two. They 
were ruddy and healthy-looking. Their helmets came 
low down over their foreheads and the side of their 
faces. Their carbines were clipped to the frame of the 
bicycles. Stick bombs hung handle down from their 
belts. Their helmets and their gray uniforms were wet 
and they rode easily, looking ahead and to both sides. 
There were two — then four in line, then two, then al- 
most a dozen; then another dozen — then one alone. 
They did not talk but we could not have heard them 
because of the noise from the river. They were gone 
out of sight up the road. 

"Holy Mary," Aymo said. 

"They were Germans," Piani said. "Those weren't 

"Why isn't there somebody here to stop them?" I 
said. "Why haven't they blown the bridge up? Why 
aren't there machine-guns along this embankment?" 

"You tell us, Tenente," Bonello said. 

I was very angry. 

"The whole bloody thing is crazy. Down below they 
blow up a little bridge. Here they leave a bridge on 
the main road. Where is everybody? Don't they try 
and stop them at all?" 


"You tell us, Tenente," Bonello said. I shut up. It 
was none of my business ; all I had to do was to get to 
Pordenone with three ambulances. I had failed at that. 
All I had to do now was get to Pordenone. I prob- 
ably could not even get to Udine. The hell I couldn't. 
The thing to do was to be calm and not get shot or 

"Didn't you have a canteen open?" I asked Piani. 
He handed it to me. I took a long drink. "We might 
as well start," I said. "There's no hurry though. Do 
you want to eat something?" 

"This is no place to stay," Bonello said. 

"All right. We'll start." 

"Should we keep on this side — out of sight?" 

"We'll be better off on top. They may come along 
this bridge too. We don't want them on top of us 
before we see them." 

We walked along the railroad track. On both sides 
of us stretched the wet plain. Ahead across the plain 
was the hill of Udine. The roofs fell away from the 
castle on the hill. We could see the campanile and the 
clock-tower. There were many mulberry trees in the 
fields. Ahead I saw a place where the rails were torn 
up. The ties had been dug out too and thrown down 
the embankment. 

"Down! down!" Aymo said. We dropped down be- 
side the embankment. There was another group of 
bicyclists passing along the road. I looked over the 
edge and saw them go on. 

"They saw us but they went on," Aymo said. 

"We'll get killed up there, Tenente," Bonello said. 

"They don't want us," I said. "They're after some- 
thing else. We're in more danger if they should come 
on us suddenly." 


"I'd rather walk here out of sight," Bonello said. 

"All right. We'll walk along the tracks." 

"Do you think we can get through?" Aymo asked. 

"Sure. There aren't very many of them yet. We'll 
go through in the dark." 

"What was that staff car doing?" 

"Christ knows," I said. We kept on up the tracks. 
Bonello tired of walking in the mud of the embank- 
ment and came up with the rest of us. The railway 
moved south away from the highway now and we could 
not see what passed along the road. A short bridge 
over a canal was blown up but we climbed across on 
what was left of the span. We heard firing ahead of 

We came up on the railway beyond the canal. It 
went on straight toward the town across the low fields. 
We could see the line of the other railway ahead of us. 
To the north was the main road where we had seen the 
cyclists; to the south there was a small branch-road 
across the fields with thick trees on each side. I 
thought we had better cut to the south and work 
around the town that w r ay and across country toward 
Campoformio and the main road to the Tagliamento. 
We could avoid the main line of the retreat by keeping 
to the secondary roads beyond Udine. I knew there 
were plenty of side-roads across the plain. I started 
down the embankment. 

"Come on," I said. We would make for the side- 
road and work to the south of the town. We all started 
down the embankment. A shot was fired at us from the 
side-road. The bullet went into the mud of the em- 

"Go on back," I shouted. I started up the embank- 
ment, slipping in the mud. The drivers were ahead of 


me. I went up the embankment as fast as I could go. 
Two more shots came from the thick brush and Aymo, 
as he was crossing the tracks, lurched, tripped and fell 
face down. We pulled him down on the other side and 
turned him over. "His head ought to be uphill/' I 
said. Piani moved him around. He lay in the mud 
on the side of the embankment, his feet pointing down- 
hill, breathing blood irregularly. The three of us 
squatted over him in the rain. He was hit low in the 
back of the neck and the bullet had ranged upward and 
come out under the right eye. He died while I was 
stopping up the two holes. Piani laid his head down, 
wiped at his face, with a piece of the emergency dress- 
ing, then let it alone. 

"The ," he said. 

"They weren't Germans," I said. "There can't be 
any Germans over there." 

"Italians," Piani said, using the word as an epithet, 
"Italiani!" Bonello said nothing. He was sitting be- 
side Aymo, not looking at him. Piani picked up Aymo's 
cap where it had rolled down the embankment and put 
it over his face. He took out his canteen. 

"Do you want a drink?" Piani handed Bonello the 

"No," Bonello said. He turned to me. "That might 
have happened to us any time on the railway tracks." 

"No," I said. "It was because we started across the 

Bonello shook his head. "Aymo's dead," he said. 
"Who's dead next, Tenente? Where do we go now?" 

"Those were Italians that shot," I said. "They 
weren't Germans." 

"I suppose if they were Germans they'd have killed 
all of us," Bonello said. 


"We are in more danger from Italians than Ger- 
mans/' I said. "The rear guard are afraid of every- 
thing. The Germans know what they're after." 

"You reason it out, Tenente," Bonello said. 

"Where do we go now?" Piani asked. 

"We better lie up some place till it's dark. If we 
could get south we'd be all right." 

"They'd have to shoot us all to prove they were right 
the first time," Bonello said. "I'm not going to try 

"We'll find a place to lie up as near to Udine as we 
can get and then go through when it's dark." 

"Let's go then," Bonello said. We went down the 
north side of the embankment I looked back. Ay mo 
lay in the mud with the angle of the embankment. He 
was quite small and his arms were by his side, his 
puttee-wrapped legs and muddy boots together, his cap 
over his face. He looked very dead. It was raining. 
I had liked him as well as any one I ever knew. I had 
his papers in my pocket and would write to his family. 
Ahead across the fields was a farmhouse. There were 
trees around it and the farm buildings were built 
against the house. There was a balcony along the sec- 
ond floor held up by columns. 

"We better keep a little way apart," I said. "I'll go 
ahead." I started toward the farmhouse. There was a 
path across the field. 

Crossing the field, I did not know but that some one 
would fire on us from the trees near the farmhouse or 
from the farmhouse itself. I walked toward it, seeing 
it very clearly. The balcony of the second floor merged 
into the barn and there was hay coming out between 
the columns. The courtyard was of stone blocks and 
all the trees were dripping with the rain. There was a 


big empty two- wheeled cart, the shafts tipped high up 
in the rain. I came to the courtyard, crossed it, and 
stood under the shelter of the balcony. The door of the 
house was open and I went in. Bonello and Piani came 
in after me. It was dark inside. I went back to the 
kitchen. There were ashes of a fire on the big open 
hearth. The pots hung over the ashes, but they were 
empty. I looked around but I could not find anything 
to eat. 

"We ought to lie up in the barn," I said. "Do you 
think you could find anything to eat, Piani, and bring 
it up there ?" 

'Til look," Piani said. 

'Til look too," Bonello said. 

"All right, ,, I said. 'Til go up and look at the 
barn." I found a stone stairway that went up from 
the stable underneath. The stable smelt dry and pleas- 
ant in the rain. The cattle were all gone, probably 
driven off when they left. The barn was half full of 
hay. There were two windows in the roof, one was 
blocked with boards, the other was a narrow dormer 
window on the north side. There was a chute so that 
hay might be pitched down to the cattle. Beams crossed 
the opening down into the main floor where the hay- 
carts drove in when the hay was hauled in to be pitched 
up. I heard the rain on the roof and smelled the hay 
and, when I went down, the clean smell of dried dung 
in the stable. We could pry a board loose and see out 
of the south window down into the courtyard. The 
other window looked out on the field toward the north. 
We could get out of either window onto the roof and 
down, or go down the hay chute if the stairs were im- 
practical. It was a big barn and we could hide in the 
hay if we heard any one. It seemed like a good place. 


I was sure we could have gotten through to the south 
if they had not fired on us. It was impossible that there 
were Germans there. They were coming from the north 
and down the road from Cividale. They could not have 
come through from the south. The Italians were even 
more dangerous. They were frightened and firing on 
anything they saw. Last night on the retreat we had 
heard that there had been many Germans in Italian 
uniforms mixing with the retreat in the north. I did 
not believe it. That was one of those things you always 
heard in the war. It was one of the things the enemy 
always did to you. You did not know any one who 
went over in German uniform to confuse them. Maybe 
they did but it sounded difficult. I did not believe the 
Germans did it. I did not believe they had to. There 
was no need to confuse our retreat. The size of the 
army and the fewness of the roads did that. Nobody 
gave any orders, let alone Germans. Still, they would 
shoot us for Germans. They shot Aymo. The hay 
smelled good and lying in a barn in the hay took away 
all the years in between. We had lain in hay and 
talked and shot sparrows with an air-rifle when they 
perched in the triangle cut high up in the wall of the 
barn. The barn was gone now and one year they had 
cut the hemlock woods and there were only stumps, 
dried tree-tops, branches and fireweed where the woods 
had been. You could not go back. If you did not go 
forward what happened ? You never got back to Milan. 
And if you got back to Milan what happened? I 
listened to the firing to the north toward Udine. I 
could hear machine-gun firing. There was no shelling. 
That was something. They must have gotten some 
troops along the road. I looked down in the half-light 
of the hay-barn and saw Piani standing on the hauling 


floor. He had a long sausage, a jar of something and 
two bottles of wine under his arm. 

"Come up," I said. "There is the ladder." Then I 
realized that I should help him with the things and 
went down. I was vague in the head from lying in the 
hay. I had been nearly asleep. 

"Where's Bonello?" I asked. 

"I'll tell you," Piani said. We went up the ladder. 
Up on the hay we set the things down. Piani took out 
his knife with the corkscrew and drew the cork on a 
wine bottle. 

"They have sealing-wax on it," he said. "It must be 
good." He smiled. 

"Where's Bonello?" I asked. 

Piani looked at me. 

"He went away, Tenente," he said. "He wanted to 
be a prisoner." 

I did not say anything. 

"He was afraid we would get killed." 

I held the bottle of wine and did not say anything. 

"You see we don't believe in the war anyway, Ten- 

"Why didn't you go?" I asked. 

"I did not want to leave you." 

"Where did he go?" 

"I don't know, Tenente. He went away." 

"All right," I said. "Will you cut the sausage?" 

Piani looked at me in the half-light. 

"I cut it while we were talking," he said. We sat 
in the hay and ate the sausage and drank the wine. It 
must have been wine they had saved for a wedding. It 
was so old that it was losing its color. 

"You look out of this window, Luigi," I said. "I'll 
go look out the other window." 


We had each been drinking out of one of the bottles 
and I took my bottle with me and went over and lay- 
flat on the hay and looked out the narrow window at 
the wet country. I do not know what I expected to 
see but I did not see anything except the fields and the 
bare mulberry trees and the rain falling. I drank the 
wine and it did not make me feel good. They had kept 
it too long and it had gone to pieces and lost its quality 
and color. I watched it get dark outside ; the darkness 
came very quickly. It would be a black night with the 
rain. When it was dark there was no use watching any 
more, so I went over to Piani. He was lying asleep and 
I did not wake him but sat down beside him for a 
while. He was a big man and he slept heavily. After 
a while I woke him and we started. 

That was a very strange night. I do not know what 
I had expected, death perhaps and shooting in the dark 
and running, but nothing happened. We waited, lying 
flat beyond the ditch along the main road while a Ger- 
man battalion passed, then when they were gone we 
crossed the road and went on to the north. We were 
very close to Germans twice in the rain but they did 
not see us. We got past the town to the north without 
seeing any Italians, then after a while came on the 
main channels of the retreat and walked all night 
toward the Tagliamento. I had not realized how gigan- 
tic the retreat was. The whole country was moving, as 
well as the army. We walked all night, making better 
time than the vehicles. My leg ached and I was tired 
but we made good time. It seemed so silly for Bonello 
to have decided to be taken prisoner. There was no 
danger. We had walked through two armies without 
incident. If Aymo had not been killed there would 
never have seemed to be any danger. No one had 


bothered us when we were in plain sight along the rail- 
way. The killing came suddenly and unreasonably. I 
wondered where Bonello was. 

"How do you feel, Tenente? ,, Piani asked. We were 
going along the side of a road crowded with vehicles 
and troops. 


"I'm tired of this walking/' 

"Well, all we have to do is walk now. We don't have 
to worry." 

"Bonello was a fool." 

"He was a fool all right." 

"What will you do about him, Tenente?" 

"I don't know." 

"Can't you just put him down as taken prisoner?" 

"I don't know." 

"You see if the war went on they would make bad 
trouble for his family." 

"The war won't go on," a soldier said. "We're 
going home. The war is over." 

"Everybody's going home." 

"We're all going home." 

"Come on, Tenente," Piani said. He wanted to get 
past them. 

"Tenente? Who's a Tenente? A basso gli ufficiali! 
Down with the officers !" 

Piani took me by the arm. "I better call you by your 
name," he said. "They might try and make trouble. 
They've shot some officers." We worked up past them. 

"I won't make a report that will make trouble for his 
family." I went on with our conversation. 

"If the war is over it makes no difference," Piani 
said. "But I don't believe it's over. It's too good that 
it should be over." 


"We'll know pretty soon," I said. 

"I don't believe it's over. They all think it's over 
but I don't believe it." 

"Viva la Pace!" a soldier shouted out. "We're go- 
ing home !" 

"It would be fine if we all went home," Piani said. 
"Wouldn't you like to go home?" 


"We'll never go. I don't think it's over." 

"Andiamo a casa!" a soldier shouted. 

"They throw away their rifles," Piani said. "They 
take them off and drop them down while they're 
marching. Then they shout." 

"They ought to keep their rifles." 

"They think if they throw away their rifles they 
can't make them fight." 

In the dark and the rain, making our way along the 
side of the road I could see that many of the troops 
still had their rifles. They stuck up above the capes. 

"What brigade are you?" an officer called out. 

"Brigata di Pace" some one shouted. "Peace Bri- 
gade!" The officer said nothing. 

"What does he say? What does the officer say?" 

"Down with the officer. Viva la Pace!" 

"Come on," Piani said. We passed two British am- 
bulances, abandoned in the block of vehicles. 

"They're from Gorizia," Piani said. "I know the 

"They got further than we did." 

"They started earlier." 

"I wonder where the drivers are?" 

"Up ahead probably." 

"The Germans have stopped outside Udine," I said. 
"These people will all get across the river." 


"Yes," Piani said. "That's why I think the war will 
go on." 

"The Germans could come on," I said. "I wonder 
why they don't come on." 

"I don't know. I don't know anything about this 
kind of war." 

"They have to wait for their transport I suppose." 

"I don't know," Piani said. Alone he was much 
gentler. When he was with the others he was a very 
rough talker. 

"Are you married, Luigi?" 

"You know I am married." 

"Is that why you did not want to be a prisoner?" 

"That is one reason. Are you married, Tenente?" 


"Neither is Bonello." 

"You can't tell anything by a man's being married. 
But I should think a married man would want to get 
back to his wife," I said. I would be glad to talk about 


"How are your feet?" 

"They're sore enough." 

Before daylight we reached the bank of the Taglia- 
mento and followed down along the flooded river to the 
bridge where all the traffic was crossing. 

"They ought to be able to hold at this river," Piani 
said. In the dark the flood looked high. The water 
swirled and it was wide. The wooden bridge was 
nearly three-quarters of a mile across, and the river, 
that usually ran in narrow channels in the wide stony 
bed far below the bridge, was close under the wooden 
planking. We went along the bank and then worked 


our way into the crowd that were crossing the bridge. 
Crossing slowly in the rain a few feet above the flood, 
pressed tight in the crowd, the box of an artillery caisson 
just ahead, I looked over the side and watched the 
river. Now that we could not go our own pace I felt 
very tired. There was no exhilaration in crossing the 
bridge. I wondered what it would be like if a plane 
bombed it in the daytime. 

"Piani," I said. 

"Here I am, Tenente." He was a little ahead in the 
jam. No one was talking. They were all trying to get 
across as soon as they could: thinking only of that. 
We were almost across. At the far end of the bridge 
there were officers and carabinieri standing on both 
sides flashing lights. I saw them silhouetted against 
the sky-line. As we came close to them I saw one of 
the officers point to a man in the column. A carabiniere 
went in after him and came out holding the man by the 
arm. He took him away from the road. We came 
almost opposite them. The officers were scrutinizing 
every one in the column, sometimes speaking to each 
other, going forward to flash a light in some one's 
face. They took some one else out just before we came 
opposite. I saw the man. He was a lieutenant-colo- 
nel. I saw the stars in the box on his sleeve as they 
flashed a light on him. His hair was gray and he was 
short and fat. The carabiniere pulled him in behind the 
line of officers. As we came opposite I saw one or 
two of them look at me. Then one pointed at me and 
spoke to a carabiniere. I saw the carabiniere start for 
me, come through the edge of the column toward me, 
then felt him take me by the collar. 

"What's the matter with you?" I said and hit him in 
the face. I saw his face under the hat, upturned mus- 


taches and blood coming down his cheek. Another 
one dove in toward us. 

" What's the matter with you?" I said. He did not 
answer. He was watching a chance to grab me. I put 
my arm behind me to loosen my pistol. 

"Don't you know you can't touch an officer?" 

The other one grabbed me from behind and pulled 
my arm up so that it twisted in the socket. I turned 
with him and the other one grabbed me around the 
neck. I kicked his shins and got my left knee into his 

"Shoot him if he resists," I heard some one say. 

"What's the meaning of this ?" I tried to shout but 
my voice was not very loud. They had me at the side 
of the road now. 

"Shoot him if he resists," an officer said. "Take him 
over back." 

"Who are you?" 

"You'll find out." 

"Who are you?" 

"Battle police," another officer said. 

"Why don't you ask me to step over instead of hav- 
ing one of these airplanes grab me?" 

They did not answer. They did not have to answer. 
They were battle police. 

"Take him back there with the others," the first 
officer said. "You see. He speaks Italian with an ac- 

"So do you, you ," I said. 

"Take him back with the others," the first officer 
said. They took me down behind the line of officers 
below the road toward a group of people in a field by 
the river bank. As we walked toward them shots were 
fired. I saw flashes of the rifles and heard the reports. 


We came up to the group. There were four officers 
standing together, with a man in front of them with a 
carabiniere on each side of him. A group of men were 
standing guarded by carabinieri. Four other carabin- 
ieri stood near the questioning officers, leaning on their 
carbines. They were wide-hatted carabinieri. The 
two who had me shoved me in with the group waiting 
to be questioned. I looked at the man the officers were 
questioning. He was the fat gray-haired little lieuten- 
ant-colonel they had taken out of the column. The 
questioners had all the efficiency, coldness and com- 
mand of themselves of Italians who are firing and are 
not being fired on. 

"Your brigade ?" 

He told them. 


He told them. 

"Why are you not with your regiment?" 

He told them. 

"Do you not know that an officer should be with his 

He did. 

That was all. Another officer spoke. 

"It is you and such as you that have let the barba- 
rians onto the sacred soil of the fatherland." 

"I beg your pardon," said the lieutenant-colonel. 

"It is because of treachery such as yours that we 
have lost the fruits of victory." 

"Have you ever been in a retreat?" the lieutenant- 
colonel asked. 

"Italy should never retreat." 

We stood there in the rain and listened to this. We 
were facing the officers and the prisoner stood in front 
and a little to one side of us. 


"If you are going to shoot me," the lieutenant-colo- 
nel said, "please shoot me at once without further 
questioning. The questioning is stupid." He made the 
sign of the cross. The officers spoke together. One 
wrote something on a pad of paper. 

"Abandoned his troops, ordered to be shot," he said. 

Two carabinieri took the lieutenant-colonel to the 
river bank. He walked in the rain, an old man with 
his hat off, a carabiniere on either side. I did not 
watch them shoot him but I heard the shots. They 
were questioning some one else. This officer too was 
separated from his troops. He was not allowed to make 
an explanation. He cried when they read the sentence 
from the pad of paper, and they were questioning an- 
other when they shot him. They made a point of being 
intent on questioning the next man while the man who 
had been questioned before was being shot. In this way 
there was obviously nothing they could do about it. I 
did not know whether I should wait to be questioned or 
make a break now. I was obviously a German in Italian 
uniform. I saw how their minds worked; if they had 
minds and if they worked. They were all young men 
and they were saving their country. The second army 
was being re-formed beyond the Tagliamento. They 
were executing officers of the rank of major and above 
who were separated from their troops. They were also 
dealing summarily with German agitators in Italian uni- 
form. They wore steel helmets. Only two of us had 
steel helmets. Some of the carabinieri had them. The 
other carabinieri wore the wide hat. Airplanes we called 
them. We stood in the rain and were taken out one at 
a time to be questioned and shot. So far they had shot 
every one they had questioned. The questioners had 
that beautiful detachment and devotion to stern justice 


of men dealing in death without being in any danger 
of it. They were questioning a full colonel of a line 
regiment. Three more officers had just been put in 
with us. 

" Where was his regiment ?" 

I looked at the carabinieri. They were looking at the 
newcomers. The others were looking at the colonel. I 
ducked down, pushed between two men, and ran for 
the river, my head down. I tripped at the edge and 
went in with a splash. The water was very cold and I 
stayed under as long as I could. I could feel the cur- 
rent swirl me and I stayed under until I thought I 
could never come up. The minute I came up I took a 
breath and went down again. It was easy to stay 
under with so much clothing and my boots. When I 
came up the second time I saw a piece of timber ahead 
of me and reached it and held on with one hand. I 
kept my head behind it and did not even look over it. 
I did not want to see the bank. There were shots when 
I ran and shots when I came up the first time. I heard 
them when I was almost above water. There were no 
shots now. The piece of timber swung in the current 
and I held it with one hand. I looked at the bank. It 
seemed to be going by very fast. There was much 
wood in the stream. The water was very cold. We 
passed the brush of an island above the water. I held 
onto the timber with both hands and let it take me 
along. The shore was out of sight now. 



You do not know how long you are in a river when 
the current moves swiftly. It seems a long time and it 
may be very short. The water was cold and in flood 
and many things passed that had been floated off the 
banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a heavy 
timber to hold on to, and I lay in the icy water with 
my chin on the wood, holding as easily as I could with 
both hands. I was afraid of cramps and I hoped we 
would move toward the shore. We went down the 
river in a long curve. It was beginning to be light 
enough so I could see the bushes along the shore-line. 
There was a brush island ahead and the current moved 
toward the shore. I wondered if I should take off my 
boots and clothes and try to swim ashore, but decided 
not to. I had never thought of anything but that I 
would reach the shore some way, and I would be in a 
bad position if I landed barefoot. I had to get to Mestre 
some way. 

I watched the shore come close, then swing away, 
then come closer again. We were floating more slowly. 
The shore was very close now. I could see twigs on 
the willow bush. The timber swung slowly so that the 
bank was behind me and I knew we were in an eddy. 
We went slowly around. As I saw the bank again, very 
close now, I tried holding with one arm and kicking 
and swimming the timber toward the bank with the 
other, but I did not bring it any closer. I was afraid 
we would move out of the eddy and, holding with one 
hand, I drew up my feet so they were against the side 
of the timber and shoved hard toward the bank. I 



could see the brush, but even with my momentum and 
swimming as hard as I could, the current was taking me 
away. I thought then I would drown because of my 
boots, but I thrashed and fought through the water, 
and when I looked up the bank was coming toward me, 
and I kept thrashing and swimming in a heavy-footed 
panic until I reached it. I hung to the willow branch 
and did not have strength to pull myself up but I knew 
I would not drown now. It had never occurred to me 
on the timber that I might drown. I felt hollow and 
sick in my stomach and chest from the effort, and I 
held to the branches and waited. When the sick feeling 
was gone I pulled into the willow bushes and rested 
again, my arms around some brush, holding tight with 
my hands to the branches. Then I crawled out, pushed 
on through the willows and onto the bank. It was half- 
daylight and I saw no one. I lay flat on the bank and 
heard the river and the rain. 

After a while I got up and started along the bank. 
I knew there was no bridge across the river until Lati- 
sana. I thought I might be opposite San Vito. I be- 
gan to think out what I should do. Ahead there was a 
ditch running into the river. I went toward it. So far 
I had seen no one and I sat down by some bushes along 
the bank of the ditch and took off my shoes and emp- 
tied them of water. I took off my coat, took my wallet 
with my papers and my money all wet in it out of the 
inside pocket and then wrung the coat out. I took off 
my trousers and wrung them too, then my shirt and 
underclothing. I slapped and rubbed myself and then 
dressed again. I had lost my cap. 

Before I put on my coat I cut the cloth stars off my 
sleeves and put them in the inside pocket with my 
money. My money was wet but was all right. I count- 


ed it. There were three thousand and some lire. My 
clothes felt wet and clammy and I slapped my arms to 
keep the circulation going. I had woven underwear and 
I did not think I would catch cold if I kept moving. 
They had taken my pistol at the road and I put the 
holster under my coat. I had no cape and it was cold 
in the rain. I started up the bank of the canal. It was 
daylight and the country was wet, low and dismal look- 
ing. The fields were bare and wet; a long way away 
I could see a campanile rising out of the plain. I came 
up onto a road. Ahead I saw some troops coming down 
the road. I limped along the side of the road and they 
passed me and paid no attention to me. They were 
a machine-gun detachment going up toward the river. 
I went on down the road. 

That day I crossed the Venetian plain. It is a low 
level country and under the rain it is even flatter. To- 
ward the sea there are salt marshes and very few roads. 
The roads all go along the river mouths to the sea and 
to cross the country you must go along the paths beside 
the canals. I was working across the country from the 
north to the south and had crossed two railway lines 
and many roads and finally I came out at the end of a 
path onto a railway line where it ran beside a marsh. 
It was the main line from Venice to Trieste, with a 
high solid embankment, a solid roadbed and double 
track. Down the tracks a way was a flag-station and 
I could see soldiers on guard. Up the line there was a 
bridge over a stream that flowed into the marsh. I 
could see a guard too at the bridge. Crossing the fields 
to the north I had seen a train pass on this railroad, 
visible a long way across the flat plain, and I thought 
a train might come from Portogruaro. I watched the 
guards and lay down on the embankment so that I 


could see both ways along the track. The guard at the 
bridge walked a way up the line toward where I lay, 
then turned and went back toward the bridge. I lay, 
and was hungry, and waited for the train. The one I 
had seen was so long that the engine moved it very 
slowly and I was sure I could get aboard it. After I 
had almost given up hoping for one I saw a train com- 
ing. The engine, coming straight on, grew larger slowly. 
I looked at the guard at the bridge. He was walking 
on the near side of the bridge but on the other side of 
the tracks. That would put him out of sight when the 
train passed. I watched the engine come nearer. It 
was working hard. I could see there were many cars. 
I knew there would be guards on the train, and I tried 
to see where they were, but, keeping out of sight, I 
could not. The engine was almost to where I was lying. 
When it came opposite, working and puffing even on the 
level, and I saw the engineer pass, I stood up and 
stepped up close to the passing cars. If the guards 
were watching I was a less suspicious object standing 
beside the track. Several closed freight-cars passed. 
Then I saw a low open car of the sort they call gondolas 
coming, covered with canvas. I stood until it had al- 
most passed, then jumped and caught the rear hand- 
rods and pulled up. I crawled down between the gon- 
dola and the shelter of the high freight-car behind. I 
did not think any one had seen me. I was holding to 
the hand-rods and crouching low, my feet on the coup- 
ling. We were almost opposite the bridge. I remem- 
bered the guard. As we passed him he looked at me. 
He was a boy and his helmet was too big for him. I 
stared at him contemptuously and he looked away. He 
thought I had something to do with the train. 

We were past. I saw him still looking uncomfort- 


able, watching the other cars pass and I stooped to see 
how the canvas was fastened. It had grummets and was 
laced down at the edge with cord. I took out my knife, 
cut the cord and put my arm under. There were hard 
bulges under the canvas that tightened in the rain. I 
looked up and ahead. There was a guard on the 
freight-car ahead but he was looking forward. I let 
go of the hand-rails and ducked under the canvas. My 
forehead hit something that gave me a violent bump 
and I felt blood on my face but I crawled on in and lay 
flat. Then I turned around and fastened down the can- 

I was in under the canvas with guns. They smelled 
cleanly of oil and grease. I lay and listened to the 
rain on the canvas and the clicking of the car over the 
rails. There was a little light came through and I lay 
and looked at the guns. They had their canvas jackets 
on. I thought they must have been sent ahead from 
the third army. The bump on my forehead was swollen 
and I stopped the bleeding by lying still and letting it 
coagulate, then picked away the dried blood except over 
the cut. It was nothing. I had no handkerchief, but 
feeling with my fingers I washed away where the dried 
blood had been, with rain-water that dripped from the 
canvas, and wiped it clean with the sleeve of my coat. 
I did not want to look conspicuous. I knew I would 
have to get out before they got to Mestre because they 
would be taking care of these guns. They had no guns 
to lose or forget about. I was terrifically hungry. 


Lying on the floor of the flat-car with the guns be- 
side me under the canvas I was wet, cold and very hun- 
gry. Finally I rolled over and lay flat on my stomach 
with my head on my arms. My knee was stiff, but it 
had been very satisfactory. Valentini had done a fine 
job. I had done half the retreat on foot and swum part 
of the Tagliamento with his knee. It was his knee all 
right. The other knee was mine. Doctors did things 
to you and then it was not your body any more. The 
head was mine, and the inside of the belly. It was very 
hungry in there. I could feel it turn over on itself. The 
head was mine, but not to use, not to think with ; only 
to remember and not too much remember. 

I could remember Catherine but I knew I would get 
crazy if I thought about her when I was not sure yet I 
would see her, so I would not think about her, only 
about her a little, only about her with the car going 
slowly and clickingly, and some light through the can- 
vas and my lying with Catherine on the floor of the 
car. Hard as the floor of the car to lie not thinking 
only feeling, having been away too long, the clothes 
wet and the floor moving only a little each time and 
lonesome inside and alone with wet clothing and hard 
floor for a wife. 

You did not love the floor of a flat-car nor guns with 
canvas jackets and the smell of vaselined metal or a 
canvas that rain leaked through, although it is very 
fine under a canvas and pleasant with guns; but you 
loved some one else whom now you knew was not even 
to be pretended there ; you seeing now very clearly and 



coldly — not so coldly as clearly and emptily. You saw- 
emptily, lying on your stomach, having been present 
when one army moved back and another came forward. 
You had lost your cars and your men as a floorwalker 
loses the stock of his department in a fire. There was, 
however, no insurance. You were out of it now. You 
had no more obligation. If they shot floorwalkers af- 
ter a fire in the department store because they spoke 
with an accent they had always had, then certainly the 
floorwalkers would not be expected to return when the 
store opened again for business. They might seek other 
employment; if there was any other employment and 
the police did not get them. 

Anger was washed away in the river along with any 
obligation. Although that ceased when the carabiniere 
put his hands on my collar. I would like to have had 
the uniform off although I did not care much about the 
outward forms. I had taken off the stars, but that was 
for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not 
against them. I was through. I wished them all the 
luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and 
the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved 
it. But it was not my show any more and I wished this 
bloody train would get to Mestre and I would eat and 
stop thinking. I would have to stop. 

Piani would tell them they had shot me. They went 
through the pockets and took the papers of the people 
they shot. They would not have my papers. They might 
call me drowned. I wondered what they would hear in 
the States. Dead from wounds and other causes. Good 
Christ I was hungry. I wondered what had become of 
the priest at the mess. And Rinaldi. He was probably 
atPordenone. If they had not gone further back. Well, 
I would never see him now. I would never see any of 


them now. That life was over. I did not think he had 
syphilis. It was not a serious disease anyway if you 
took it in time, they said. But he would worry. I 
would worry too if I had it. Any one would worry. 

I was not made to think. I was made to eat. My 
God, yes. Eat and drink and sleep with Catherine. 
To-night maybe. No that was impossible. But to- 
morrow night, and a good meal and sheets and never 
going away again except together. Probably have to 
go damned quickly. She would go. I knew she would 
go. When would we go ? That was something to think 
about. It was getting dark. I lay and thought where 
we would go. There were many places. 



I dropped off the train in Milan as it slowed to come 
into the station early in the morning before it was light. 
I crossed the track and came out between some build- 
ings and down onto the street. A wine shop was open 
and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early 
morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee-glasses and 
the wet circles left by wine-glasses. The proprietor was 
behind the bar. Two soldiers sat at a table. I stood at 
the bar and drank a glass of coffee and ate a piece of 
bread. The coffee was gray with milk, and I skimmed 
the milk scum off the top with a piece of bread. The 
proprietor looked at me. 

"You want a glass of grappa?" 

"No thanks." 

"On me," he said and poured a small glass and 
pushed it toward me. "What's happening at the front ?" 

"I would not know." 

"They are drunk," he said, moving his hand toward 
the two soldiers. I could believe him. They looked 

"Tell me," he said, "what is happening at the 

"I would not know about the front." 

"I saw you come down the wall. You came off the 

"There is a big retreat." 

"I read the papers. What happens? Is it over?" 

"I don't think so." 

He filled the glass with grappa from a short bottle. 
"If you are in trouble," he said, "I can keep you." 



"lam not in trouble." 

"If you are in trouble stay here with me." 

"Where does one stay?" 

"In the building. Many stay here. Any who are in 
trouble stay here." 

"Are many in trouble?" 

"It depends on the trouble. You are a South Ameri- 


"Speak Spanish?" 

"A little." 

He wiped off the bar. 

"It is hard now to leave the country but in no way 

"I have no wish to leave." 

"You can stay here as long as you want. You will 
see what sort of man I am." 

"I have to go this morning but I will remember the 
address to return." 

He shook his head. "You won't come back if you 
talk like that. I thought you were in real trouble." 

"I am in no trouble. But I value the address of a 

I put a ten-lira note on the bar to pay for the coffee. 

"Have a grappa with me," I said. 

"It is not necessary." 

"Have one." 

He poured the two glasses. 

"Remember," he said. "Come here. Do not let other 
people take you in. Here you are all right." 

"I am sure." 

"You are sure?" 



He was serious. "Then let me tell you one thing. 
Do not go about with that coat." 


"On the sleeves it shows very plainly where the stars 
have been cut away. The cloth is a different color." 

I did not say anything. 

"If you have no papers I can give you papers." 

"What papers?" 


"I have no need for papers. I have papers." 

"All right," he said. "But if you need papers I can 
get what you wish." 

"How much are such papers?" 

"It depends on what they are. The price is reason- 

"I don't need any now." 

He shrugged his shoulders. 

"I'm all right," I said. 

When I went out he said, "Don't forget that I am 
your friend." 


"I will see you again," he said. 

f 'Good," I said. 

Outside I kept away from the station, where there 
were military police, and picked up a cab at the edge 
of the little park. I gave the driver the address of the 
hospital. At the hospital I went to the porter's lodge. 
His wife embraced me. He shook my hand. 

"You are back. You are safe." 


"Have you had breakfast?" 


"How are you, Tenente? How are you?" the wife 



"Won't you have breakfast with us?" 

"No, thank you. Tell me is Miss Barkley here at the 
hospital now?" 

"Miss Barkley?" 

"The English lady nurse." 

"His girl," the wife said. She patted my arm and 

"No," the porter said. "She is away." 

My heart went down. "You are sure? I mean the 
tall blonde English young lady." 

"I am sure. She is gone to Stresa." 

"When did she go?" 

"She went two days ago with the other lady Eng- 

"Good," I said. "I wish you to do something for me. 
Do not tell any one you have seen me. It is very im- 

"I won't tell any one," the porter said. I gave him 
a ten-lira note. He pushed it away. 

"I promise you I will tell no one," he said. "I don't 
want any money." 

"What can we do for you, Signor Tenente?" his 
wife asked. 

"Only that," I said. 

"We are dumb," the porter said. "You will let me 
know anything I can do ?" 

"Yes," I said. "Good-by. I will see you again." 

They stood in the door, looking after me. 

I got into the cab and gave the driver the address of 
Simmons, one of the men I knew who was studying 

Simmons lived a long way out in the town toward 


the Porta Magenta. He was still in bed and sleepy 
when I went to see him. 

"You get up awfully early, Henry," he said. 

"I came in on the early train." 

"What's all this retreat? Were you at the front? 
Will you have a cigarette? They're in that box on the 
table." It was a big room with a bed beside the wall, 
a piano over on the far side and a dresser and table. 
I sat on a chair by the bed. Simmons sat propped up 
by the pillows and smoked. 

"I'm in a jam, Sim," I said. 

"So am I," he said. "I'm always in a jam. Won't 
you smoke?" 

"No," I said. "What's the procedure in going to 

"For you? The Italians wouldn't let you out of the 

"Yes. I know that. But the Swiss. What will they 

"They intern you." 

"I know. But what's the mechanics of it?" 

"Nothing. It's very simple. You can go anywhere. 
I think you just have to report or something. Why? 
Are you fleeing the police?" 

"Nothing definite yet." 

"Don't tell me if you don't want. But it would be 
interesting to hear. Nothing happens here. I was a 
great flop at Piacenza." 

"I'm awfully sorry." 

"Oh yes — I went very badly. I sung well too. I'm 
going to try it again at the Lyrico here." 

"I'd like to be there." 

"You're awfully polite. You aren't in a bad mess, 
are you?" 


"I don't know." 

"Don't tell me if you don't want. How do you hap- 
pen to be away from the bloody front?" 

"I think I'm through with it." 

"Good boy. I always knew you had sense. Can I 
help you any way?" 

"You're awfully busy." 

"Not a bit of it, my dear Henry. Not a bit of it. 
I'd be happy to do anything." 

"You're about my size. Would you go out and buy 
me an outfit of civilian clothes ? I've clothes but they're 
all at Rome." 

"You did live there, didn't you? It's a filthy place. 
How did you ever live there?" 

"I wanted to be an architect." 

"That's no place for that. Don't buy clothes. I'll 
give you all the clothes you want. I'll fit you out so 
you'll be a great success. Go in that dressing-room. 
There's a closet. Take anything you want. My dear 
fellow, you don't want to buy clothes." 

"I'd rather buy them, Sim." 

"My dear fellow, it's easier for me to let you have 
them than go out and buy them. Have you got a pass- 
port? You won't get far without a passport." 

"Yes. I've still got my passport." 

"Then get dressed, my dear fellow, and off to old 

"It's not that simple. I have to go up to Stresa first." 

"Ideal, my dear fellow. You just row a boat across. 
If I wasn't trying to sing, I'd go with you. I'll go yet." 

"You could take up yodelling." 

"My dear fellow, I'll take up yodelling yet. I really 
can sing though. That's the strange part." 

"I'll bet you can sing." 


He lay back in bed smoking a cigarette. 

"Don't bet too much. But I can sing though. It's 
damned funny, but I can. I like to sing. Listen." He 
roared into "Africana," his neck swelling, the veins 
standing out. "I can sing," he said. "Whether they like 
it or not." I looked out of the window. "I'll go down 
and let my cab go." 

"Come back up, my dear fellow, and we'll have break- 
fast" He stepped out of bed, stood straight, took a 
deep breath and commenced doing bending exercises. 
I went downstairs and paid off the cab. 


In civilian clothes I felt a masquerader. I had been 
in uniform a long time and I missed the feeling of 
being held by your clothes. The trousers felt very 
floppy. I had bought a ticket at Milan for Stresa. I 
had also bought a new hat. I could not wear Sim's 
hat but his clothes were fine. They smelled of tobacco 
and as I sat in the compartment and looked out the win- 
dow the new hat felt very new and the clothes very old. 
I myself felt as sad as the wet Lombard country that 
was outside through the window. There were some 
aviators in the compartment who did not think much 
of me. They avoided looking at me and were very 
scornful of a civilian my age. I did not feel insulted. 
In the old days I would have insulted them and picked 
a fight. They got off at Gallarate and I was glad to be 
alone. I had the paper but I did not read it because I 
did not want to read about the war. I was going to 
forget the war. I had made a separate peace. I felt 
damned lonely and was glad when the train got to 

At the station I had expected to see the porters from 
the hotels but there was no one. The season had been 
over a long time and no one met the train. I got down 
from the train with my bag, it was Sim's bag, and very 
light to carry, being empty except for two shirts, and 
stood under the roof of the station in the rain while 
the train went on. I found a man in the station and 
asked him if he knew what hotels were open. The Grand- 
Hotel & des Isles Borromees was open and several small 
hotels that stayed open all the year. I started in the 



rain for the Isles Borromees carrying my bag. I saw a 
carriage coming down the street and signalled to the 
driver. It was better to arrive in a carriage. We drove 
up to the carriage entrance of the big hotel and the con- 
cierge came out with an umbrella and was very polite. 

I took a good room. It was very big and light and 
looked out on the lake. The clouds were down over the 
lake but it would be beautiful with the sunlight. I was 
expecting my wife, I said. There was a big double bed, 
a letto matrimoniale with a satin coverlet. The hotel 
was very luxurious. I went down the long halls, down 
the wide stairs, through the rooms to the bar. I knew 
the barman and sat on a high stool and ate salted al- 
monds and potato chips. The martini felt cool and 

"What are you doing here in borghese?" the barman 
asked after he had mixed a second martini. 

"I am on leave. Convalescing-leave." 

"There is no one here. I don't know why they keep 
the hotel open." 

"Have you been fishing ?" 

"I've caught some beautiful pieces. Trolling this 
time of year you catch some beautiful pieces." 

"Did you ever get the tobacco I sent?" 

"Yes. Didn't you get my card?" 

I laughed. I had not been able to get the tobacco. 
It was American pipe-tobacco that he wanted, but my 
relatives had stopped sending it or it was being held up. 
Anyway it never came. 

"I'll get some somewhere," I said. "Tell me have you 
seen two English girls in the town? They came here 
day before yesterday." 

"They are not at the hotel." 

"They are nurses." 


"I have seen two nurses. Wait a minute, I will find 
out where they are." 

"One of them is my wife," I said. "I have come 
here to meet her." 

"The other is my wife." 

"I am not joking." 

"Pardon my stupid joke," he said. "I did not under- 
stand." He went away and was gone quite a little 
while. I ate olives, salted almonds and potato chips 
and looked at myself in civilian clothes in the mirror be- 
hind the bar. The bartender came back. "They are at 
the little hotel near the station," he said. 

"How about some sandwiches ?" 

"I'll ring for some. You understand there is nothing 
here, now there are no people." 

"Isn't there really any one at all?" 

"Yes. There are a few people." 

The sandwiches came and I ate three and drank a 
couple more martinis. I had never tasted anything so 
cool and clean. They made me feel civilized. I had had 
too much red wine, bread, cheese, bad coffee and grappa. 
I sat on the high stool before the pleasant mahogany, 
the brass and the mirrors and did not think at all. The 
barman asked me some question. 

"Don't talk about the war," I said. The war was a 
long way away. Maybe there wasn't any war. There 
was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. 
But I did not have the feeling that it was really over. 
I had the feeling of a boy who thinks of what is happen- 
ing at a certain hour at the schoolhouse from which he 
has played truant. 

Catherine and Helen Ferguson were at supper when 
I came to their hotel. Standing in the hallway I saw 


them at table. Catherine's face was away from me and 
I saw the line of her hair and her cheek and her lovely- 
neck and shoulders. Ferguson was talking. She stopped 
when I came in. 

"My God," she said. 

"Hello/' I said. 

"Why it's you!" Catherine said. Her face lighted 
up. She looked too happy to believe it. I kissed her. 
Catherine blushed and I sat down at the table. 

"You're a fine mess," Ferguson said. "What are 
you doing here? Have you eaten?" 

"No." The girl who was serving the meal came in 
and I told her to bring a plate for me. Catherine looked 
at me all the time, her eyes happy. 

"What are you doing in mufti ?" Ferguson asked. 

"I'm in the Cabinet." 

"You're in some mess." 

"Cheer up, Fergy. Cheer up just a little." 

"I'm not cheered by seeing you. I know the mess 
you've gotten this girl into. You're no cheerful sight 
to me." 

Catherine smiled at me and touched me with her 
foot under the table. 

"No one got me in a mess, Fergy. I get in my own 

"I can't stand him," Ferguson said. "He's done 
nothing hut ruin you with his sneaking Italian tricks. 
Americans are worse than Italians." 

"The Scotch are such a moral people," Catherine 

"I don't mean that. I mean his Italian sneakiness." 

"Am I sneaky, Fergy?" 

"You are. You're worse than sneaky. You're like a 


snake. A snake with an Italian uniform: with a cape 
around your neck." 

"I haven't got an Italian uniform now." 

"That's just another example of your sneakiness. 
You had a love affair all summer and got this girl with 
child and now I suppose you'll sneak off." 

I smiled at Catherine and she smiled at me. 

"We'll both sneak off," she said. 

"You're two of the same thing," Ferguson said. 
"I'm ashamed of you, Catherine Barkley. You have 
no shame and no honor and you're as sneaky as he is." 

"Don't, Fergy," Catherine said and patted her hand. 
"Don't denounce me. You know we like each other." 

"Take your hand away," Ferguson said. Her face 
was red. "If you had any shame it would be different. 
But you're God knows how many months gone with 
child and you think it's a joke and are all smiles because 
your seducer's come back. You've no shame and no 
feelings." She began to cry. Catherine went over and 
put her arm around her. As she stood comforting Fer- 
guson, I could see no change in her figure. 

"I don't care," Ferguson sobbed. "I think it's dread- 

"There, there, Fergy," Catherine comforted her. 
"I'll be ashamed. Don't cry, Fergy. Don't cry, old 

"I'm not crying," Ferguson sobbed. "I'm not crying. 
Except for the awful thing you've gotten into." She 
looked at me. "I hate you," she said. "She can't make 
me not hate you. You dirty sneaking American Ital- 
ian." Her eyes and nose were red with crying. 

Catherine smiled at me. 

"Don't you smile at him with your arm around me." 

"You're unreasonable, Fergy." 


"I know it," Ferguson sobbed. "You mustn't mind 
me, either of you. I'm so upset. I'm not reasonable. I 
know it. I want you both to be happy." 

"We're happy," Catherine said. "You're a sweet 

Ferguson cried again. "I don't want you happy the 
way you are. Why don't you get married ? You haven't 
got another wife have you?" 

"No," I said. Catherine laughed. 

"It's nothing to laugh about," Ferguson said. 
"Plenty of them have other wives." 

"We'll be married, Fergy," Catherine said, "if it 
will please you." 

"Not to please me. You should want to be married." 

"We've been very busy." 

"Yes. I know. Busy making babies." I thought 
she was going to cry again but she went into bitterness 
instead. "I suppose you'll go off with him now to- 

"Yes," said Catherine. "If he wants me." 

"What about me?" 

"Are you afraid to stay here alone?" 

"Yes, I am." 

"Then I'll stay with you." 

"No, go on with him. Go with him right away. 
I'm sick of seeing both of you." 

"We'd better finish dinner." 

"No. Go right away." 

"Fergy, be reasonable." 

"I say get out right away. Go away both of you." 

"Let's go then," I said. I was sick of Fergy. 

"You do want to go. You see you want to leave me 
even to eat dinner alone. I've always wanted to go to 


the Italian lakes and this is how it is. Oh, Oh," she 
sobbed, then looked at Catherine and choked. 

"We'll stay till after dinner," Catherine said. "And 
ril not leave you alone if you want me to stay. I 
won't leave you alone, Fergy." 

"No. No. I want you to go. I want you to go." 
She wiped her eyes. "I'm so unreasonable. Please 
don't mind me." 

The girl who served the meal had been upset by all 
the crying. Now as she brought in the next course 
she seemed relieved that things were better. 

That night at the hotel, in our room with the long 
empty hall outside and our shoes outside the door, a 
thick carpet on the floor of the room, outside the win- 
dows the rain falling and in the room light and pleas- 
ant and cheerful, then the light out and it exciting with 
smooth sheets and the bed comfortable, feeling that we 
had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the 
night to find the other one there, and not gone away; 
all other things were unreal. We slept when we were 
tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one 
was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a 
girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other 
they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly 
say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we 
were together, alone against the others. It has only 
happened to me like that once. I have been alone while 
I was with many girls and that is the way that you can 
be most lonely. But we were never lonely and never 
afraid when we were together. I know that the night 
is not the same as the day : that all things are different, 
that the things of the night cannot be explained in the 
day, because they do not then exist, and the night can 


be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneli- 
ness has started. But with Catherine there was almost 
no difference in the night except that it was an even 
better time. If people bring so much courage to this 
world the world has to kill them to break them, so of 
course it kills them. The world breaks every one and 
afterward many are strong at the broken places. But 
those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good 
and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If 
you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you 
too but there will be no special hurry. 

I remember waking in the morning. Catherine was 
asleep and the sunlight was coming in through the win- 
dow. The rain had stopped and I stepped out of bed 
and across the floor to the window. Down below were 
the gardens, bare now but beautifully regular, the 
gravel paths, the trees, the stone wall by the lake and the 
lake in the sunlight with the mountains beyond. I 
stood at the window looking out and when I turned 
away I saw Catherine was awake and watching me. 

"How are you, darling ?" she said. "Isn't it a lovely 

"How do you feel ?" 

"I feel very well. We had a lovely night." 

"Do you want breakfast?" 

She wanted breakfast. So did I and we had it in 
bed, the November sunlight coming in the window, and 
the breakfast tray across my lap. 

"Don't you want the paper? You always wanted the 
paper in the hospital." 

"No," I said. "I don't want the paper now." 

"Was it so bad you don't want even to read about 


"I don't want to read about it" 

"I wish I had been with you so I would know about 
it too." 

'Til tell you about it if I ever get it straight in my 

"But won't they arrest you if they catch you out of 

"They'll probably shoot me." 

"Then we'll not stay here. We'll get out of the 

"I'd thought something of that." 

"We'll get out. Darling, you shouldn't take silly 
chances. Tell me how did you come from Mestre to 

"I came on the train. I was in uniform then." 

"Weren't you in danger then?" 

"Not much. I had an old order of movement. I 
fixed the dates on it in Mestre." 

"Darling, you're liable to be arrested here any time. 
I won't have it. It's silly to do something like that. 
Where would we be if they took you off?" 

"Let's not think about it. I'm tired of thinking 
about it." 

"What would you do if they came to arrest you?" 

"Shoot them." 

"You see how silly you are, I won't let you go out of 
the hotel until we leave here." 

"Where are we going to go?" 

"Please don't be that way, darling. We'll go where- 
ever you say. But please find some place to go right 

"Switzerland is down the lake, we can go there." 

"That will be lovely." 


It was clouding over outside and the lake was dark- 

"1 wish we did not always have to live like crimi- 
nals," I said. 

"Darling, don't be that way. You haven't lived like 
a criminal very long. And we never live like criminals. 
We're going to have a fine time." 

"I feel like a criminal. I've deserted from the army." 

"Darling, please be sensible. It's not deserting from 
the army. It's only the Italian army." 

I laughed. "You're a fine girl. Let's get back into 
bed. I feel fine in bed." 

A little while later Catherine said, "You don't feel 
like a criminal do you?" 

"No," I said. "Not when I'm with you." 

"You're such a silly boy," she said. "But I'll look 
after you. Isn't it splendid, darling, that I don't have 
any morning-sickness?" 

"It's grand." 

"You don't appreciate what a fine wife you have. 
But I don't care. I'll get you some place where they 
can't arrest you and then we'll have a lovely time." 

"Let's go there right away." 

"We will, darling. I'll go any place any time you 

"Let's not think about anything." 

"All right." 


Catherine went along the lake to the little hotel to 
see Ferguson and I sat in the bar and read the papers. 
There were comfortable leather chairs in the bar and I 
sat in one of them and read until the barman came in. 
The army had not stood at the Tagliamento. They 
were falling back to the Piave. I remembered the 
Piave. The railroad crossed it near San Dona going 
up to the front. It was deep and slow there and quite 
narrow. Down below there were mosquito marshes 
and canals. There were some lovely villas. Once, be- 
fore the war, going up to Cortina D'Ampezzo I had 
gone along it for several hours in the hills. Up there 
it looked like a trout stream, flowing swiftly with shal- 
low stretches and pools under the shadow of the rocks. 
The road turned off from it at Cadore. I wondered 
how the army that was up there would come down. 
The barman came in. 

"Count Greffi was asking for you," he said. 


"Count Grefifi. You remember the old man who was 
here when you were here before." 

"Is he here?" 

"Yes, he's here with his niece. I told him you were 
here. He wants you to play billiards." 

"Where is he?" 

"He's taking a walk." 

"How is he?" 

"He's younger than ever. He drank three cham- 
pagne cocktails last night before dinner." 

"How's his billiard game?" 


"Good. He beat me. When I told him you were 
here he was very pleased. There's nobody here for him 
to play with." 

Count Greffi was ninety- four years old. He had 
been a contemporary of Metternich and was an old 
man with white hair and mustache and beautiful man- 
ners. He had been in the diplomatic service of both 
Austria and Italy and his birthday parties were the 
great social event of Milan. He was living to be one 
hundred years old and played a smoothly fluent game 
of billiards that contrasted with his own ninety- four- 
year-old brittleness. I had met him when I had been 
at Stresa once before out of season and while we 
played billiards we drank champagne. I thought it was 
a splendid custom and he gave me fifteen points in a 
hundred and beat me. 

"Why didn't you tell me he was here?" 

"I forgot it." 

"Who else is here?" 

"No one you know. There are only six people alto- 

"What are you doing now?" 


"Come on out fishing." 

"I could come for an hour." 

"Come on. Bring the trolling line." 

The barman put on a coat and we went out. We 
went down and got a boat and I rowed while the bar- 
man sat in the stern and let out the line with a spinner 
and a heavy sinker on the end to troll for lake trout. 
We rowed along the shore, the barman holding the line 
in his hand and giving it occasional jerks forward. 
Stresa looked very deserted from the lake. There were 
the long rows of bare trees, the big hotels and the 


closed villas. I rowed across to Isola Bella and went 
close to the walls, where the water deepened sharply, 
and you saw the rock wall slanting down in the clear 
water, and then up and along to the fisherman's island. 
The sun was under a cloud and the water was dark and 
smooth and very cold. We did not have a strike though 
we saw some circles on the water from rising fish. 

I rowed up opposite the fisherman's island where 
there were boats drawn up and men were mending nets. 

"Should we get a drink?" 

"All right. ,, 

I brought the boat up to the stone pier and the bar- 
man pulled in the line, coiling it on the bottom of the 
boat and hooking the spinner on the edge of the gun- 
wale. I stepped out and tied the boat. We went into a 
little cafe, sat at a bare wooden table and ordered ver- 

"Are you tired from rowing?" 


"I'll row back," he said. 

"I like to row." 

"Maybe if you hold the line it will change the luck." 

"All right." 

"Tell me how goes the war." 


"I don't have to go. I'm too old, like Count Greffi." 

"Maybe you'll have to go yet." 

"Next year they'll call my class. But I won't go." 

"What will you do?" 

"Get out of the country. I wouldn't go to war. I 
was at the war once in Abyssinia. Nix. Why do you 

"I don't know. I was a fool." 

"Have another vermouth?" 


"All right." 

The barman rowed back. We trolled up the lake be- 
yond Stresa and then down not far from shore. I 
held the taut line and felt the faint pulsing of the spin- 
ner revolving while I looked at the dark November 
water of the lake and the deserted shore. The barman 
rowed with long strokes and on the forward thrust of 
the boat the line throbbed. Once I had a strike: the 
line hardened suddenly and jerked back, I pulled and 
felt the live weight of the trout and then the line 
throbbed again. I had missed him. 

"Did he feel big?" 

"Pretty big." 

"Once when I was out trolling alone I had the line 
in my teeth and one struck and nearly took my mouth 

"The best way is to have it over your leg," I said. 
"Then you feel it and don't lose your teeth." 

I put my hand in the water. It was very cold. We 
were almost opposite the hotel now. 

"I have to go in," the barman said, "to be there for 
eleven o'clock. L'heure du cocktail/' 

"All right." 

I pulled in the line and wrapped it on a stick notched 
at each end. The barman put the boat in a little slip in 
the stone wall and locked it with a chain and padlock. 

"Any time you want it," he said, "I'll give you the 
key." " 


We went up to the hotel and in to the bar. I did not 
want another drink so early in the morning so I went 
up to our room. The maid had just finished doing the 
room and Catherine was not back yet. I lay down on 
the bed and tried to keep from thinking. 


When Catherine came back it was all right again. 
Ferguson was downstairs, she said. She was coming 
to lunch. 

"I knew you wouldn't mind," Catherine said. 

"No," I said. 

"What's the matter, darling?" 

"I don't know." 

"I know. You haven't anything to do. All you have 
is me and I go away." 

"That's true." 

"I'm sorry, darling. I know it must be a dreadful 
feeling to have nothing at all suddenly." 

"My life used to be full of everything," I said. 
"Now if you aren't with me I haven't a thing in the 

"But I'll be with you. I was only gone for two 
hours. Isn't there anything you can do?" 

"I went fishing with the barman." 

"Wasn't it fun?" 


"Don't think about me when I'm not here." 

"That's the way I worked it at the front. But there 
was something to do then." 

"Othello with his occupation gone," she teased. 

"Othello was a nigger," I said. "Besides, I'm not 
jealous. I'm just so in love with you that there isn't 
anything else." 

"Will you be a good boy and be nice to Ferguson?" 

"I'm always nice to Ferguson unless she curses me." 

"Be nice to her. Think how much we have and she 
hasn't anything." 

"I don't think she wants what we have." 

"You don't know much, darling, for such a wise 


'Til be nice to her." 

"I know you will. You're so sweet." 

"She won't stay afterward, will she?" 

"No. I'll get rid of her." 

"And then we'll come up here." 

"Of course. What do you think I want to do?" 

We went downstairs to have lunch with Ferguson. 
She was very impressed by the hotel and the splendor 
of the dining-room. We had a good lunch with a 
couple of bottles of white capri. Count Greffi came 
into the dining-room and bowed to us. His niece, who 
looked a little like my grandmother, was with him. I 
told Catherine and Ferguson about him and Ferguson 
was very impressed. The hotel was very big and grand 
and empty but the food was good, the wine was very 
pleasant and finally the wine made us all feel very well. 
Catherine had no need to feel any better. She was 
very happy. Ferguson became quite cheerful. I felt 
very well myself. After lunch Ferguson went back to 
her hotel. She was going to lie down for a while after 
lunch she said. 

Along late in the afternoon some one knocked on 
our door. 

"Who is it?" 

"The Count Greffi wishes to know if you will play 
billiards with him." 

I looked at my watch ; I had taken it off and it was 
under the pillow. 

"Do you have to go, darling?" Catherine whispered. 

"I think Td better." The watch was a quarter-past 
four o'clock. Out loud I said, "Tell the Count Greffi 
I will be in the billiard-room at five o'clock." 

At a quarter to five I kissed Catherine good-by and 
went into the bathroom to dress. Knotting my tie and 


looking in the glass I looked strange to myself in the 
civilian clothes. I must remember to buy some more 
shirts and socks. 

"Will you be away a long time?" Catherine asked. 
She looked lovely in the bed. "Would you hand me the 

I watched her brushing her hair, holding her head so 
the weight of her hair all came on one side. It was 
dark outside and the light over the head of the bed 
shone on her hair and on her neck and shoulders. I 
went over and kissed her and held her hand with the 
brush and her head sunk back on the pillow. I kissed 
her neck and shoulders. I felt faint with loving her so 

"I don't want to go away." 

"I don't want you to go away." 

"I won't go then." 

"Yes. Go. It's only for a little while and then 
you'll come back." 

"We'll have dinner up here." 

"Hurry and come back." 

I found the Count Greffi in the billiard-room. He 
was practising strokes, looking very fragile under the 
light that came down above the billiard table. On a card 
table a little way beyond the light was a silver icing- 
bucket with the necks and corks of two champagne 
bottles showing above the ice. The Count Greffi 
straightened up when I came toward the table and 
walked toward me. He put out his hand, "It is such a 
great pleasure that you are here. You were very kind 
to come to play with me." 

"It was very nice of you to ask me." 

"Are you quite well? They told me you were 


wounded on the Isonzo. I hope you are well again." 

"I'm very well. Have you been well?" 

"Oh, I am always well. But I am getting old. I 
detect signs of age now." 

"I can't believe it." 

"Yes. Do you want to know one? It is easier for 
me to talk Italian. I discipline myself but I find when 
I am tired that it is so much easier to talk Italian. So 
I know I must be getting old." 

"We could talk Italian. I am a little tired too." 

"Oh, but when you are tired it will be easier for you 
to talk English." 


"Yes. American. You will please talk American. It 
is a delightful language." 

"I hardly ever see Americans." 

"You must miss them. One misses one's country- 
men and especially one's countrywomen. I know that 
experience. Should we play or are you too tired?" 

"I'm not really tired. I said that for a joke. What 
handicap will you give me?" 

"Have you been playing very much?" 

"None at all." 

"You play very well. Ten points in a hundred?" 

"You flatter me." 


"That would be fine but you will beat me." 

"Should we play for a stake? You always wished to 
play for a stake." 

"I think we'd better." 

"All right. I will give you eighteen points and we 
will play for a franc a point." 

He played a lovely game of billiards and with the 


handicap I was only four ahead at fifty. Count Greffi 
pushed a button on the wall to ring for the barman. 

"Open one bottle please/' he said. Then to me, "We 
will take a little stimulant." The wine was icy cold and 
very dry and good. 

"Should we talk Italian? Would you mind very 
much? It is my great weakness now." 

We went on playing, sipping the wine between shots, 
speaking in Italian, but talking little, concentrated on 
the game. Count Greffi made his one hundredth point 
and with the handicap I was only at ninety-four. He 
smiled and patted me on the shoulder. 

"Now we will drink the other bottle and you will 
tell me about the war." He waited for me to sit down. 

"About anything else," I said. 

"You don't want to talk about it? Good. What 
have you been reading?" 

"Nothing," I said. "I'm afraid I am very dull." 

"No. But you should read." 

"What is there written in war-time?" 

"There is 'Le Feu* by a Frenchman, Barbusse. 
There is 'Mr. Britling Sees Through It/ " 

"No, he doesn't." 


"He doesn't see through it. Those books were at the 

"Then you have been reading?" 

"Yes, but nothing any good." 

"I thought 'Mr. Britling' a very good study of the 
English middle-class soul." 

"I don't know about the soul." 

"Poor boy. We none of us know about the soul. 
Are you Croyant?" 

"At night." 


Count Greffi smiled and turned the glass with his fin- 
gers. "I had expected to become more devout as I grow 
older but somehow I haven't," he said. "It is a great 

"Would you like to live after death?" I asked and 
instantly felt a fool to mention death. But he did not 
mind the word. 

"It would depend on the life. This life is very pleas- 
ant. I would like to live forever," he smiled. "I very 
nearly have." 

We were sitting in the deep leather chairs, the cham- 
pagne in the ice-bucket and our glasses on the table 
between us. 

"If you ever live to be as old as I am you will find 
many things strange." 

"You never seem old." 

"It is the body that is old. Sometimes I am afraid 
I will break off a finger as one breaks a stick of chalk. 
And the spirit is no older and not much wiser." 

"You are wise." 

"No, that is the great fallacy; the wisdom of old 
men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful." 

"Perhaps that is wisdom." 

"It is a very unattractive wisdom. What do you 
value most?" 

"Some one I love." 

"With me it is the same. That is not wisdom. Do 
you value life?" 


"So do I. Because it is all I have. And to give 
birthday parties," he laughed. "You are probably wiser 
than I am. You do not give birthday parties." 

We both drank the wine. 

"What do you think of the war really?" I asked. 


"I think it is stupid." 

"Who will win it?" 



"They are a younger nation." 

"Do younger nations always win wars?" 

"They are apt to for a time." 

"Then what happens?" 

"They become older nations." 

"You said you were not wise." 

"Dear boy, that is not wisdom. That is cynicism." 

"It sounds very wise to me." 

"It's not particularly. I could quote you the ex- 
amples on the other side. But it is not bad. Have we 
finished the champagne?" 


"Should we drink some more? Then I must dress." 

"Perhaps we'd better not now." 

"You are sure you don't want more?" 

"Yes." He stood up. 

"I hope you will be very fortunate and very happy 
and very, very healthy." 

"Thank you. And I hope you will live forever." 

"Thank you. I have. And if you ever become de- 
vout pray for me if I am dead. I am asking several of 
my friends to do that. I had expected to become de- 
vout myself but it has not come." I thought he smiled 
sadly but I could not tell. He was so old and his face 
was very wrinkled, so that a smile used so many lines 
that all gradations were lost. 

"I might become very devout," I said. "Anyway, I 
will pray for you." 

"I had always expected to become devout. All my 


family died very devout. But somehow it does not 



It's too early." 

"Maybe it is too late. Perhaps I have outlived my 
religious feeling." 

"My own comes only at night." 

"Then too you are in love. Do not forget that is a 
religious feeling." 

"You believe so?" 

"Of course." He took a step toward the table. "You 
were very kind to play." 

"It was a great pleasure." 

"We will walk up stairs together."- 


That night there was a storm and I woke to hear 
the rain lashing the window-panes. It was coming in 
the open window. Some one had knocked on the door. 
I went to the door very softly, not to disturb Catherine, 
and opened it. The barman stood there. He wore his 
overcoat and carried his wet hat. 

"Can I speak to you, Tenente?" 

"What's the matter ?" 

"It's a very serious matter/' 

I looked around. The room was dark. I saw the 
water on the floor from the window. "Come in," I 
said. I took him by the arm into the bathroom ; locked 
the door and put on the light. I sat down on the edge 
of the bathtub. 

"What's the matter, Emilio? Are you in trouble?" 

"No. You are, Tenente." 


"They are going to arrest you in the morning." 


"I came to tell you. I was out in the town and I 
heard them talking in a cafe." 
1 see. 

He stood there, his coat wet, holding his wet hat and 
said nothing. 

"Why are they going to arrest me?" 

"For something about the war." 

"Do you know what?" 

"No. But I know that they know you were here be- 
fore as an officer and now you are here out of uniform. 
After this retreat they arrest everybody." 

I thought a minute. 



"What time do they come to arrest me?" 

"In the morning. I don't know the time." 

"What do you say to do?" 

He put his hat in the washbowl. It was very wet 
and had been dripping on the floor. 

"If you have nothing to fear an arrest is nothing. 
But it is always bad to be arrested — especially now." 

"I don't want to be arrested." 

"Then go to Switzerland." 


"In my boat." 

"There is a storm," I said. 

"The storm is over. It is rough but you will be all 

"When should we go?" 

"Right away. They might come to arrest you early 
in the morning." 

"What about our bags?" 

"Get them packed. Get your lady dressed. I will 
take care of them." 

"Where will you be?" 

"I will wait here. I don't want any one to see me 
outside in the hall." 

I opened the door, closed it, and went into the bed- 
room. Catherine was awake. 

"What is it, darling?" 

"It's all right, Cat," I said. "Would you like to get 
dressed right away and go in a boat to Switzerland?" 

"Would you?" 

"No," I said. "I'd like to go back to bed." 

"What is it about?" 

"The barman says they are going to arrest me in the 

"Is the barman crazy?" 



"Then please hurry, darling, and get dressed so we 
can start." She sat up on the side of the bed. She 
was still sleepy. "Is that the barman in the bathroom?" 


"Then I won't wash. Please look the other way, 
darling, and I'll be dressed in just a minute." 

I saw her white back as she took off her nightgown 
and then I looked away because she wanted me to. She 
was beginning to be a little big with the child and she 
did not want me to see her. I dressed hearing the rain 
on the windows. I did not have much to put in my bag. 

"There's plenty of room in my bag, Cat, if you need 

"I'm almost packed," she said. "Darling, I'm aw- 
fully stupid, but why is the barman in the bathroom?" 

"Sh — he's waiting to take our bags down." 

"He's awfully nice." 

"He's an old friend," I said. "I nearly sent him some 
pipe-tobacco once." 

I looked out the open window at the dark night. I 
could not see the lake, only the dark and the rain but 
the wind was quieter. 

"I'm ready, darling," Catherine said. 

"All right." I went to the bathroom door. "Here 
are the bags, Emilio," I said. The barman took the two 

"You're very good to help us," Catherine said. 

"That's nothing, lady," the barman said. "I'm glad 
to help you just so I don't get in trouble myself. Lis- 
ten," he said to me. "I'll take these out the servants' 
stairs and to the boat. You just go out as though you 
were going for a walk." 

"It's a lovely night for a walk," Catherine said. 


"It's a bad night all right." 

"I'm glad Fve an umbrella," Catherine said. 

We walked down the hall and down the wide thickly- 
carpeted stairs. At the foot of the stairs by the door 
the porter sat behind his desk. 

He looked surprised at seeing us. 

" You're not going out, sir?" he said. 

"Yes," I said. "We're going to see the storm along 
the lake." 

"Haven't you got an umbrella, sir?" 

"No," I said. "This coat sheds water." 

He looked at it doubtfully. 'Til get you an umbrella, 
sir," he said. He went away and came back with a big 
umbrella. "It is a little big, sir," he said. I gave him 
a ten-lira note. "Oh you are too good, sir. Thank you 
very much," he said. He held the door open and we 
went out into the rain. He smiled at Catherine and she 
smiled at him. "Don't stay out in the storm," he said. 
"You will get wet, sir and lady." He was only the sec- 
ond porter, and his English was still literally translated. 

"We'll be back," I said. We walked down the path 
under the giant umbrella and out through the dark wet 
gardens to the road and across the road to the trellised 
pathway along the lake. The wind was blowing off- 
shore now. It was a cold, wet November wind and I 
knew it was snowing in the mountains. We came along 
past the chained boats in the slips along the quay to 
where the barman's boat should be. The water was 
dark against the stone. The barman stepped out from 
beside the row of trees. 

"The bags are in the boat," he said. 

"I want to pay you for the boat," I said. 

"How much money have you?" 

"Not so much." 


"You send me the money later. That will be all 

"How much?" 

"What you want." 

"Tell me how much." 

"If you get through send me five hundred francs. 
You won't mind that if you get through/ ' 

"All right." 

"Here are sandwiches/' He handed me a package. 
"Everything there was in the bar. It's all here. This 
is a bottle of brandy and a bottle of wine." I put them 
in my bag. "Let me pay you for those." 

"All right, give me fifty lire." 

I gave it to him. "The brandy is good," he said. 
"You don't need to be afraid to give it to your lady. 
She better get in the boat." He held the boat, it rising 
and falling against the stone wall and I helped Cathe- 
rine in. She sat in the stern and pulled her cape around 

"You know where to go?" 

"Up the lake." 

"You know how far?" 

"Past Luino." 

"Past Luino, Cannero, Cannobio, Tranzano. You 
aren't in Switzerland until you come to Brissago. You 
have to pass Monte Tamara." 

"What time is it?" Catherine asked. 

"It's only eleven o'clock," I said. 

"If you row all the time you ought to be there by 
seven o'clock in the morning." 

"Is it that far?" 

"It's thirty-five kilometres." 

"How should we go? In this rain we need a com- 


"No. Row to Isola Bella. Then on the other side of 
Isola Madre go with the wind. The wind will take you 
to Pallanza. You will see the lights. Then go up the 

"Maybe the wind will change." 

"No," he said. "This wind will blow like this for 
three days. It comes straight down from the Matta- 
rone. There is a can to bail with." 

"Let me pay you something for the boat now." 

"No, Fd rather take a chance. If you get through 
you pay me all you can." 

"All right" 

"I don't think you'll get drowned." 

"That's good." 

"Go with the wind up the lake." 

"All right." I stepped in the boat. 

"Did you leave the money for the hotel?" 

"Yes. In an envelope in the room." 

"All right. Good luck, Tenente." 

"Good luck. We thank you many times." 

"You won't thank me if you get drowned." 

"What does he say?" Catherine asked. 

"He says good luck." 

"Good luck," Catherine said. "Thank you very 

"Are you ready?" 


He bent down and shoved us off. I dug at the water 
with the oars, then waved one hand. The barman waved 
back deprecatingly. I saw the lights of the hotel and 
rowed out, rowing straight out until they were out of 
sight. There was quite a sea running but we were go- 
ing with the wind. 


I rowed in the dark keeping the wind in my face. 
The rain had stopped and only came occasionally in 
gusts. It was very dark, and the wind was cold. I 
could see Catherine in the stern but I could not see the 
water where the blades of the oars dipped. The oars 
were long and there were no leathers to keep them from 
slipping out. I pulled, raised, leaned forward, found 
the water, dipped and pulled, rowing as easily as I 
could. I did not feather the oars because the wind was 
with us. I knew my hands would blister and I wanted 
to delay it as long as I could. The boat was light and 
rowed easily. I pulled it along in the dark water. I 
could not see, and hoped we would soon come opposite 

We never saw Pallanza. The wind was blowing up 
the lake and we passed the point that hides Pallanza in 
the dark and never saw the lights. When we finally 
saw some lights much further up the lake and close to 
the shore it was Intra. But for a long time we did not 
see any lights, nor did we see the shore but rowed stead- 
ily in the dark riding with the waves. Sometimes I 
missed the water with the oars in the dark as a wave 
lifted the boat. It was quite rough; but I kept on row- 
ing, until suddenly we were close ashore against a point 
of rock that rose beside us ; the waves striking against 
it, rushing high up, then falling back. I pulled hard 
on the right oar and backed water with the other and 
we went out into the lake again ; the point was out of 
sight and we were going on up the lake. 

"We're across the lake/' I said to Catherine. 


"Weren't we going to see Pallanza ?" 

"We've missed it." 

"How are you, darling?" 

"I'm fine." 

"I could take the oars awhile." 

"No, Tm fine." 

"Poor Ferguson," Catherine said. "In the morning 
she'll come to the hotel and find we're gone." 

"I'm not worrying so much about that," I said, "as 
about getting into the Swiss part of the lake before it's 
daylight and the custom guards see us." 

"Is it a long way?" 

"It's thirty some kilometres from here." 

I rowed all night. Finally my hands were so sore I 
could hardly close them over the oars. We were nearly 
smashed up on the shore several times. I kept fairly 
close to the shore because I was afraid of getting lost 
on the lake and losing time. Sometimes we were so 
close we could see a row of trees and the road along 
the shore with the mountains behind. The rain stopped 
and the wind drove the clouds so that the moon shone 
through and looking back I could see the long dark 
point of Castagnola and the lake with white-caps and 
beyond, the moon on the high snow mountains. Then 
the clouds came over the moon again and the moun- 
tains and the lake were gone, but it w r as much lighter 
than it had been before and we could see the shore. I 
could see it too clearly and pulled out where they would 
not see the boat if there were custom guards along the 
Pallanza road. When the moon came out again we 
could see white villas on the shore on the slopes of the 
mountain and the white road where it showed through 
the trees. All the time I was rowing. 


The lake widened and across it on the shore at the 
foot of the mountains on the other side we saw a few 
lights that should be Luino. I saw a wedgelike gap be- 
tween the mountains on the other shore and I thought 
that must be Luino. If it was we were making good 
time. I pulled in the oars and lay back on the seat. I 
was very, very tired of rowing. My arms and shoulders 
and back ached and my hands were sore. 

"I could hold the umbrella/' Catherine said. "We 
could sail with that with the wind." 

"Can you steer?" 

"I think so." 

"You take this oar and hold it under your arm close 
to the side of the boat and steer and HI hold the um- 
brella." I went back to the stern and showed her how 
to hold the oar. I took the big umbrella the porter had 
given me and sat facing the bow and opened it. It 
opened with a clap. I held it on both sides, sitting 
astride the handle hooked over the seat. The wind was 
full in it and I felt the boat suck forward while I held 
as hard as I could to the two edges. It pulled hard. 
The boat was moving fast. 

"We're going beautifully," Catherine said. All I 
could see was umbrella ribs. The umbrella strained and 
pulled and I felt us driving along with it. I braced my 
feet and held back on it, then suddenly, it buckled; I 
felt a rib snap on my forehead, I tried to grab the top 
that was bending with the wind and the whole thing 
buckled and went inside out and I was astride the 
handle of an inside-out, ripped umbrella, where I had 
been holding a wind-filled pulling sail. I unhooked the 
handle from the seat, laid the umbrella in the bow and 
went back to Catherine for the oar. She was laughing. 
She took my hand and kept on laughing. 


"What's the matter ?" I took the oar. 

"You looked so funny holding that thing." 

"I suppose so." 

"Don't be cross, darling. It was awfully funny. You 
looked about twenty feet broad and very affectionate 
holding the umbrella by the edges — " she choked. 

•Til row." 

"Take a rest and a drink. It's a grand night and 
we've come a long way." 

"I have to keep the boat out of the trough of the 

"I'll get you a drink. Then rest a little while, dar- 

I held the oars up and we sailed with them. Cathe- 
rine was opening the bag. She handed me the brandy 
bottle. I pulled the cork with my pocket-knife and took 
a long drink. It was smooth and hot and the heat went 
all through me and I felt warmed and cheerful. "It's 
lovely brandy," I said. The moon was under again but 
I could see the shore. There seemed to be another point 
going out a long way ahead into the lake. 

"Are you warm enough, Cat?" 

"I'm splendid. I'm a little stiff." 

"Bail out that water and you can put your feet 

Then I rowed and listened to the oarlocks and the 
dip and scrape of the bailing tin under the stern seat. 

"Would you give me the bailer?" I said. "I want a 

"It's awfully dirty." 

"That's all right. I'll rinse it." 

I heard Catherine rinsing it over the side. Then she 
handed it to me dipped full of water. I was thirsty 
after the brandy and the water was icy cold, so cold it 


made my teeth ache. I looked toward the shore. We 
were closer to the long point. There were lights in the 
bay ahead. 

"Thanks," Isaid and handed back the tin pail. 

"You're ever so welcome," Catherine said. "There's 
much more if you want it." 

"Don't you want to eat something?" 

"No. I'll be hungry in a little while. We'll save it 
till then." 

"All right." 

What looked like a point ahead was a long high 
headland. I went further out in the lake to pass it. 
The lake was much narrower now. The moon was out 
again and the guardia di Finanza could have seen our 
boat black on the water if they had been watching. 

"How are you, Cat?" I asked. 

"I'm all right Where are we?" 

"I don't think we have more than about eight miles 

"That's a long way to row, you poor sweet. Aren't 
you dead?" 

"No. I'm all right. My hands are sore is all." 

We went on up the lake. There was a break in the 
mountains on the right bank, a flattening-out with a 
low shore line that I thought must be Cannobio. I 
stayed a long way out because it was from now on that 
we ran the most danger of meeting guardia. There was 
a high dome-capped mountain on the other shore a way 
ahead. I was tired. It was no great distance to row 
but when you were out of condition it had been a long 
way. I knew I had to pass that mountain and go up 
the lake at least five miles further before we would be 
in Swiss water. The moon was almost down now but 


before it went down the sky clouded over again and it 
was very dark. I stayed well out in the lake, rowing 
awhile, then resting and holding the oars so that the 
wind struck the blades. 

"Let me row awhile," Catherine said. 

"I don't think you ought to." 

"Nonsense. It would be good for me. It would keep 
me from being too stiff." 

"I don't think you should, Cat." 

"Nonsense. Rowing in moderation is very good for 
the pregnant lady." 

"All right, you row a little moderately. I'll go back, 
then you come up. Hold on to both gunwales when you 
come up." 

I sat in the stern with my coat on and the collar 
turned up and watched Catherine row. She rowed very 
well but the oars were too long and bothered her. I 
opened the bag and ate a couple of sandwiches and took 
a drink of the brandy. It made everything much better 
and I took another drink. 

"Tell me when you're tired," I said. Then a little 
later, "watch out the oar doesn't pop you in the tummy." 

"If it did" — Catherine said between strokes — "life 
might be much simpler." 

I took another drink of the brandy. 

"How are you going?" 

"All right." 

"Tell me when you want to stop." 

"All right" 

I took another drink of the brandy, then took hold 
of the two gunwales of the boat and moved forward. 

"No. I'm going beautifully." 

"Go on back to the stern. I've had a grand rest." 


For a while, with the brandy, I rowed easily and 
steadily. Then I began to catch crabs and soon I was 
just chopping along again with a thin brown taste of 
bile from having rowed too hard after the brandy. 

"Give me a drink of water, will you?" I said. 

"That's easy," Catherine said. 

Before daylight it started to drizzle. The wind was 
down or we were protected by mountains that bounded 
the curve the lake had made. When I knew daylight 
was coming I settled down and rowed hard. I did not 
know where we were and I wanted to get into the Swiss 
part of the lake. When it was beginning to be daylight 
we were quite close to the shore. I could see the rocky 
shore and the trees. 

"What's that?" Catherine said. I rested on the oars 
and listened. It was a motor boat chugging out on the 
lake. I pulled close up to the shore and lay quiet. The 
chugging came closer; then we saw the motor boat in 
the rain a little astern of us. There were four guardia 
difinanza in the stern, their alpini hats pulled down, their 
cape collars turned up and their carbines slung across 
their backs. They all looked sleepy so early in the morn- 
ing. I could see the yellow on their hats and the yellow 
marks on their cape collars. The motor boat chugged 
on and out of sight in the rain. 

I pulled out into the lake. If we were that close to 
the border I did not want to be hailed by a sentry along 
the road. I stayed out where I could just see the shore 
and rowed on for three quarters of an hour in the rain. 
We heard a motor boat once more but I kept quiet un- 
til the noise of the engine went away across the lake. 

"I think we're in Switzerland, Cat," I said. 


"There's no way to know until we see Swiss troops." 


"Or the Swiss navy." 

"The Swiss navy's no joke for us. That last motor 
boat we heard was probably the Swiss navy." 

"If we're in Switzerland let's have a big breakfast. 
They have wonderful rolls and butter and jam in Swit- 

It was clear daylight now and a fine rain was falling. 
The wind was still blowing outside up the lake and we 
could see the tops of the white-caps going away from us 
and up the lake. I was sure we were in Switzerland 
now. There were many houses back in the trees from 
the shore and up the shore a way was a village with 
stone houses, some villas on the hills and a church. I 
had been looking at the road that skirted the shore for 
guards but did not see any. The road came quite close 
to the lake now and I saw a soldier coming out of a 
cafe on the road. He wore a gray-green uniform and 
a helmet like the Germans. He had a healthy-looking 
face and a little toothbrush mustache. He looked at us. 

"Wave to him," I said to Catherine. She waved and 
the soldier smiled embarrassedly and gave a wave of his 
hand. I eased up rowing. We were passing the water- 
front of the village. 

"We must be well inside the border," I said. 

"We want to be sure, darling. We don't want them 
to turn us back at the frontier." 

"The frontier is a long way back. I think this is the 
customs town. I'm pretty sure it's Brissago." 

"Won't there be Italians there? There are always 
both sides at a customs town." 

"Not in war-time. I don't think they let the Italians 
cross the frontier." 

It was a nice-looking little town. There were many 


fishing boats along the quay and nets were spread on 
racks. There was a fine November rain falling but it 
looked cheerful and clean even with the rain. 

"Should we land then and have breakfast?" 

"All right." 

I pulled hard on the left oar and came in close, then 
straightened out when we were close to the quay and 
brought the boat alongside. I pulled in the oars, took 
hold of an iron ring, stepped up on the wet stone and 
was in Switzerland. I tied the boat and held my hand 
down to Catherine. 

"Come on up, Cat. It's a grand feeling." 

"What about the bags?" 

"Leave them in the boat." 

Catherine stepped up and we were in Switzerland to- 

"What a lovely country," she said. 

"Isn't it grand?" 

"Let's go and have breakfast !" 

"Isn't it a grand country? I love the way it feels 
under my shoes." 

"I'm so stiff I can't feel it very well. But it feels like 
a splendid country. Darling, do you realize we're here 
and out of that bloody place?" 

"I do. I really do. I've never realized anything be- 

"Look at the houses. Isn't this a fine square? 
There's a place we can get breakfast." 

"Isn't the rain fine? They never had rain like this in 
Italy. It's cheerful rain." 

"And we're here, darling! Do you realize we're 

We went inside the cafe and sat down at a clean 


wooden table. We were cockeyed excited. A splendid 
clean-looking woman with an apron came and asked us 
what we wanted. 

"Rolls and jam and coffee," Catherine said. 

"I'm sorry, we haven't any rolls in war-time." 

"Bread then." 

"I can make you some toast." 

"All right." 

"I want some eggs fried too." 

"How many eggs for the gentleman?" 


"Take four, darling." 

"Four eggs." 

The woman went away. I kissed Catherine and held 
her hand very tight. We looked at each other and at 
the cafe. 

"Darling, darling, isn't it lovely?" 

"It's grand," I said. 

"I don't mind there not being rolls," Catherine said. 
"I thought about them all night. But I don't mind it. 
I don't mind it at all." 

"I suppose pretty soon they will arrest us." 

"Never mind, darling. We'll have breakfast first. 
You won't mind being arrested after breakfast. And 
then there's nothing they can do to us. We're British 
and American citizens in good standing." 

"You have a passport, haven't you?" 

"Of course. Oh let's not talk about it. Let's be 

"I couldn't be any happier," I said. A fat gray cat 
with a tail that lifted like a plume crossed the floor to 
our table and curved against my leg to purr each time 
she rubbed. I reached down and stroked her. Cath- 


erine smiled at me very happily. "Here comes the 
coffee/ ' she said. 

They arrested us after breakfast. We took a little 
walk through the village then went down to the quay 
to get our bags. A soldier was standing guard over the 

"Is this your boat ?" 

"Yes." - 

"Where do you come from?" 

"Up the lake." 

"Then I have to ask you to come with me." 

"How about the bags?" 

"You can carry the bags." 

I carried the bags and Catherine walked beside me 
and the soldier walked along behind us to the old cus- 
tom house. In the custom house a lieutenant, very thin 
and military, questioned us. 

"What nationality are you?" 

"American and British," 

"Let me see your passports." 

I gave him mine and Catherine got hers out of her 

He examined them for a long time. 

"Why do you enter Switzerland this way in a boat?" 

"I am a sportsman," I said. "Rowing is my great 
sport. I always row when I get a chance." 

"Why do you come here?" 

"For the winter sport. We are tourists and we want 
to do the winter sport." 

"This is no place for winter sport." 

"We know it. We want to go where they have the 
winter sport." 

"What have you been doing in Italy ?" 


"I have been studying architecture. My cousin has 
been studying art." 

"Why do you leave there?" 

"We want to do the winter sport. With the war go- 
ing on you cannot study architecture." 

"You will please stay where you are," the lieutenant 
said. He went back into the building with our pass- 

"You're splendid, darling," Catherine said. "Keep 
on the same track. You want to do the winter sport" 

"Do you know anything about art?" 

"Rubens," said Catherine. 

"Large and fat," I said. 

"Titian," Catherine said. 

"Titian-haired," I said. "How about Mantegna?" 

"Don't ask hard ones," Catherine said. "I know him 
though — very bitter." 

"Very bitter," I said. "Lots of nail holes." 

"You see I'll make you a fine wife," Catherine said. 
"I'll be able to talk art with your customers." 

"Here he comes," I said. The thin lieutenant came 
down the length of the custom house, holding our pass- 

"I will have to send you into Locarno," he said. 
"You can get a carriage and a soldier will go in with 

"All right," I said. "What about the boat?" 

"The boat is confiscated. What have you in those 

He went all through the two bags and held up the 
quarter-bottle of brandy. "Would you join me in a 
drink?" I asked. 

"No thank you." He straightened up. "How much 
money have you?" 


"Twenty-five hundred lire." 

He was favorably impressed. "How much has your 



Catherine had a little over twelve hundred lire. The 
lieutenant was pleased. His attitude toward us became 
less haughty. 

"If you are going for winter sports," he said, "Wen- 
gen is the place. My father has a very fine hotel at 
Wengen. It is open all the time." 

"That's splendid," I said. "Could you give me the 

"I will write it on a card." He handed me the card 
very politely. 

"The soldier will take you in to Locarno. He will 
keep your passports. I regret this but it is necessary. 
I have good hopes they will give you a visa or a police 
permit at Locarno." 

He handed the two passports to the soldier and carry- 
ing the bags we started into the village to order a car- 
riage. "Hi," the lieutenant called to the soldier. He 
said something in a German dialect to him. The sol- 
dier slung his rifle on his back and picked up the bags. 

"It's a great country," I said to Catherine. 

"It's so practical." 

"Thank you very much," I said to the lieutenant. 
He waved his hand. 

"Service!" he said. We followed our guard into the 

We drove to Locarno in a carriage with the soldier 
sitting on the front seat with the driver. At Locarno 
we did not have a bad time. They questioned us but 
they were polite because we had passports and money. 
I do not think they believed a word of the story and I 
thought it was silly but it was like a law-court. You 


did not want something reasonable, you wanted some- 
thing technical and then stuck to it without explana- 
tions. But we had passports and we would spend the 
money. So they gave us provisional visas. At any time 
this visa might be withdrawn. We were to report to 
the police wherever we went. 

Could we go wherever we wanted? Yes. Where did 
we want to go ? 

"Where do you want to go, Cat?" 


"It is a very nice place," the official said. "I think 
you will like that place." 

"Here at Locarno is a very nice place," another of- 
ficial said. "I am sure you would like it here very 
much at Locarno. Locarno is a very attractive place." 

"We would like some place where there is winter 

"There is no winter sport at Montreux." 

"I beg your pardon," the other official said. "I come 
from Montreux. There is very certainly winter sport 
on the Montreux Oberland Bernois railway. It would 
be false for you to deny that." 

"I do not deny it. I simply said there is no winter 
sport at Montreux." 

"I question that," the other official said. "I question 
that statement." 

"I hold to that statement." 

"I question that statement. I myself have luge-ed 
into the streets of Montreux. I have done it not once 
but several times. Luge-ing is certainly winter sport." 

The other official turned to me. 

"Is luge-ing your idea of winter sport, sir? I tell you 
you would be very comfortable here in Locarno. You 


would find the climate healthy, you would find the en- 
virons attractive. You would like it very much." 

"The gentleman has expressed a wish to go to Mon- 

"What is luge-ing? ,, I asked. 

"You see he has never even heard of luge-ing!" 

That meant a great deal to the second official. He 
was pleased by that. 

"Luge-ing," said the first official, "is tobogganing." 

"I beg to differ," the other official shook his head. 
"I must differ again. The toboggan is very different 
from the luge. The toboggan is constructed in Canada 
of flat laths. The luge is a common sled with runners. 
Accuracy means something." 

"Couldn't we toboggan?" I asked. 

"Of course you could toboggan," the first official 
said. "You could toboggan very well. Excellent Cana- 
dian toboggans are sold in Montreux. Ochs Brothers 
sell toboggans. They import their own toboggans." 

The second official turned away. "Tobogganing," he 
said, "requires a special piste. You could not toboggan 
into the streets of Montreux. Where are you stopping 

"We don't know," I said. "We just drove in from 
Brissago. The carriage is outside." 

"You make no mistake in going to Montreux," the 
first official said. "You will find the climate delightful 
and beautiful. You will have no distance to go for 
winter sport." 

"If you really want winter sport," the second official 
said, "you will go to the Engadine or to Miirren. I 
must protest against your being advised to go to Mon- 
treux for the winter sport." 

"At Les Avants above Montreux there is excellent 


winter sport of every sort." The champion of Mon- 
treux glared at his colleague. 

"Gentlemen," I said, "I am afraid we must go. My 
cousin is very tired. We will go tentatively to Mon- 

"I congratulate you," the first official shook my hand. 

"I believe that you will regret leaving Locarno," the 
second official said. "At any rate you will report to the 
police at Montreux." 

"There will be no unpleasantness with the police," 
the first official assured me. "You will find all the in- 
habitants extremely courteous and friendly." 

"Thank you both very much," I said. "We appre- 
ciate your advice very much." 

"Good-by," Catherine said. "Thank you both very 

They bowed us to the door, the champion of Locarno 
a little coldly. We went down the steps and into the 

"My God, darling," Catherine said. "Couldn't we 
have gotten away any sooner?" I gave the name of a 
hotel one of the officials had recommended to the driver. 
He picked up the reins. 

"You've forgotten the army," Catherine said. The 
soldier was standing by the carriage. I gave him a ten- 
lira note. "I have no Swiss money yet," I said. He 
thanked me, saluted and went off. The carriage started 
and we drove to the hotel. 

"How did you happen to pick out Montreux?" I 
asked Catherine. "Do you really want to go there?" 

"It was the first place I could think of," she said. 
"It's not a bad place. We can find some place up in the 

"Are you sleepy?" 


"I'm asleep right now." 

"We'll get a good sleep. Poor Cat, you had a long 
bad night." 

"I had a lovely time," Catherine said. "Especially 
when you sailed with the umbrella." 

"Can you realize we're in Switzerland?" 

"No, I'm afraid I'll wake up and it won't be true." 

"I am too." 

"It is true, isn't it, darling? I'm not just driving 
down to the stazione in Milan to see you off." 

"I hope not." 

"Don't say that. It frightens me. Maybe that's 
where we're going." 

"I'm so groggy I don't know," I said. 

"Let me see your hands." 

I put them out. They were both blistered raw. 

"There's no hole in my side," I said. 

"Don't be sacrilegious." 

I felt very tired and vague in the head. The exhil- 
aration was all gone. The carriage was going along the 

"Poor hands," Catherine said. 

"Don't touch them," I said. "By God I don't know 
where we are. Where are we going, driver?" The 
driver stopped his horse. 

"To the Hotel Metropole. Don't you want to go 

"Yes," I said. "It's all right, Cat." 

"It's all right, darling. Don't be upset. We'll get a 
good sleep and you won't feel groggy to-morrow." 

"I get pretty groggy," I said. "It's like a comic 
opera to-day. Maybe I'm hungry." 

"You're just tired, darling. You'll be fine." The 


carriage pulled up before the hotel. Some one came out 
to take our bags. 

"I feel all right," I said. We were down on the 
pavement going into the hotel. 

"I know you'll be all right. You're just tired. 
You've been up a long time." 

"Anyhow we're here." 

"Yes, we're really here." 

We followed the boy with the bags into the hotel. 



That fall the snow came very late. We lived in a 
brown wooden house in the pine trees on the side of the 
mountain and at night there was frost so that there 
was thin ice over the water in the two pitchers on the 
dresser in the morning. Mrs. Guttingen came into the 
room early in the morning to shut the windows and 
started a fire in the tall porcelain stove. The pine wood 
crackled and sparked and then the fire roared in the 
stove and the second time Mrs. Guttingen came into the 
room she brought big chunks of wood for the fire and 
a pitcher of hot water. When the room was warm she 
brought in breakfast. Sitting up in bed eating break- 
fast we could see the lake and the mountains across the 
lake on the French side. There was snow on the tops 
of the mountains and the lake was a gray steel-blue. 

Outside, in front of the chalet a road went up the 
mountain. The wheel ruts and ridges were iron hard 
with the frost, and the road climbed steadily through 
the forest and up and around the mountain to where 
there were meadows, and barns and cabins in the 
meadows at the edge of the woods looking across the 
valley. The valley was deep and there was a stream at 
the bottom that flowed down into the lake and when 
the wind blew across the valley you could hear the 
stream in the rocks. 

Sometimes we went off the road and on a path 
through the pine forest. The floor of the forest was 
soft to walk on ; the frost did not harden it as it did the 
road. But we did not mind the hardness of the road 
because we had nails in the soles and heels of our boots 



and the heel nails bit on the frozen ruts and with nailed 
boots it was good walking on the road and invigorat- 
ing. But it was lovely walking in the woods. 

In front of the house where we lived the mountain 
went down steeply to the little plain along the lake and 
we sat on the porch of the house in the sun and saw 
the winding of the road down the mountain-side and 
the terraced vineyards on the side of the lower moun- 
tain, the vines all dead now for the winter and the fields 
divided by stone walls, and below the vineyards the 
houses of the town on the narrow plain along the lake 
shore. There was an island with two trees on the lake 
and the trees looked like the double sails of a fishing- 
boat. The mountains were sharp and steep on the other 
side of the lake and down at the end of the lake was 
the plain of the Rhone Valley flat between the two 
ranges of mountains; and up the valley where the 
mountains cut it off was the Dent du Midi. It was a 
high snowy mountain and it dominated the valley but 
it was so far away that it did not make a shadow. 

When the sun was bright we ate lunch on the porch 
but the rest of the time we ate upstairs in a small room 
with plain wooden walls and a big stcfce in the corner. 
We bought books and magazines in the town and a 
copy of "Hoyle" and learned many two-handed card 
games. The small room with the stove was our living- 
room. There were two comfortable chairs and a table 
for books and magazines and we played cards on the 
dining-table when it was cleared away. Mr. and Mrs. 
Guttingen lived downstairs and we would hear them 
talking sometimes in the evening and they were very 
happy together too. He had been a headwaiter and she 
had worked as maid in the same hotel and they had 
saved their money to buy this place. They had a son 


who was studying to be a headwaiter. He was at a 
hotel in Zurich. Downstairs there was a parlor where 
they sold wine and beer, and sometimes in the evening 
we would hear carts stop outside on the road and men 
come up the steps to go in the parlor to drink wine. 

There was a box of wood in the hall outside the liv- 
ing-room and I kept up the fire from it. But we did 
not stay up very late. We went to bed in the dark in 
the big bedroom and when I was undressed I opened 
the windows and saw the night and the cold stars and 
the pine trees below the window and then got into bed 
as fast as I could. It was lovely in bed with the air so 
cold and clear and the night outside the window. We 
slept well and if I woke in the night I knew it was from 
only one cause and I would shift the feather bed over, 
very softly so that Catherine would not be wakened 
and then go back to sleep again, warm and with the 
new lightness of thin covers. The war seemed as far 
away as the football games of some one else's college. 
But I knew from the papers that they were still fight- 
ing in the mountains because the snow would not come. 

Sometimes we walked down the mountain into Mon- 
treux. There was a path went down the mountain but 
it was steep and so usually we took the road and walked 
down on the wide hard road between fields and then 
below between the stone walls of the vineyards and on 
down between the houses of the villages along the way. 
There were three villages ; Chernex, Fontanivent, and 
the other I forget. Then along the road we passed an 
old square-built stone chateau on a ledge on the side of 
the mountain-side with the terraced fields of vines, 
each vine tied to a stick to hold it up, the vines dry and 
brown and the earth ready for the snow and the lake 


down below flat and gray as steel. The road went down 
a long grade below the chateau and then turned to the 
right and went down very steeply and paved with cob- 
bles, into Montreux. 

We did not know any one in Montreux. We walked 
along beside the lake and saw the swans and the many 
gulls and terns that flew up when you came close and 
screamed while they looked down at the water. Out on 
the lake there were flocks of grebes, small and dark, 
and leaving trails in the water when they swam. In 
the town we walked along the main street and looked 
in the windows of the shops. There were many big 
hotels that were closed but most of the shops were open 
and the people were very glad to see us. There was a 
fine coiffeur's place where Catherine went to have her 
hair done. The woman who ran it was very cheerful 
and the only person we knew in Montreux. While 
Catherine was there I went up to a beer place and 
drank dark Munich beer and read the papers. I read 
the Corriere delta Sera and the English and American 
papers from Paris. All the advertisements were blacked 
out, supposedly to prevent communication in that way 
with the enemy. The papers were bad reading. Every- 
thing was going very badly everywhere. I sat back in 
the corner with a heavy mug of dark beer and an opened 
glazed-paper package of pretzels and ate the pretzels for 
the salty flavor and the good w r ay they made the beer 
taste and read about disaster. I thought Catherine 
would come by but she did not come, so I hung the pa- 
pers back on the rack, paid for my beer and went up 
the street to look for her. The day was cold and dark 
and wintry and the stone of the houses looked cold. 
Catherine was still in the hair-dresser's shop. The 
woman was waving her hair. I sat in the little booth 


and watched. It was exciting to watch and Catherine 
smiled and talked to me and my voice was a little thick 
from being excited. The tongs made a pleasant click- 
ing sound and I could see Catherine in three mirrors 
and it was pleasant and warm in the booth. Then the 
woman put up Catherine's hair, and Catherine looked 
in the mirror and changed it a little, taking out and 
putting in pins; then stood up. "I'm sorry to have 
taken such a long time." 

"Monsieur was very interested. Were you not, mon- 
sieur ?" the woman smiled. 

"Yes," I said. 

We went out and up the street It was cold and win- 
try and the wind was blowing. "Oh, darling, I love 
you so," I said. 

"Don't we have a fine time?" Catherine said. "Look. 
Let's go some place and have beer instead of tea. It's 
very good for young Catherine. It keeps her small." 

"Young Catherine," I said. "That loafer." 

"She's been very good," Catherine said. "She makes 
very little trouble. The doctor says beer will be good 
for me and keep her small." 

"If you keep her small enough and she's a boy, may- 
be he will be a jockey." 

"I suppose if we really have this child we ought to 
get married," Catherine said. We were in the beer 
place at the corner table. It was getting dark outside. 
It was still early but the day was dark and the dusk was 
coming early. 

"Let's get married now," I said. 

"No," Catherine said. "It's too embarrassing now. 
I show too plainly. I won't go before any one and be 
married in this state." 

"I wish we'd gotten married." 


"I suppose it would have been better. But when 
could we, darling ?" 

"I don't know." 

"I know one thing. I'm not going to be married in 
this splendid matronly state." 

"You're not matronly." 

"Oh yes, I am, darling. The hairdresser asked me 
if this was our first. I lied and said no, we had two 
boys and two girls." 

"When will we be married?" 

"Any time after I'm thin again. We want to have a 
splendid wedding with every one thinking what a hand- 
some young couple." 

"And you're not worried?" 

"Darling, why should I be worried ? The only time I 
ever felt badly was when I felt like a whore in Milan 
and that only lasted seven minutes and besides it was 
the room furnishings. Don't I make you a good wife?" 

"You're a lovely wife." 

"Then don't be too technical, darling. I'll marry 
you as soon as I'm thin again." 

"All right." 

"Do you think I ought to drink another beer? The 
doctor said I was rather narrow in the hips and it's all 
for the best if we keep young Catherine small." 

"What else did he say?" I was worried. 

"Nothing. I have a wonderful blood-pressure, dar- 
ling. He admired my blood-pressure greatly." 

"What did he say about you being too narrow in the 

"Nothing. Nothing at all. He said I shouldn't 

"Quite right." 

"He said it was too late to start if I'd never done it 


before. He said I could ski if I wouldn't fall down." 

"He's just a big-hearted joker." 

"Really he was very nice. We'll have him when the 
baby comes." 

"Did you ask him if you ought to get married ?" 

"No. I told him we'd been married four years. You 
see, darling, if I marry you I'll be an American and 
any time we're married under American law the child 
is legitimate." 

"Where did you find that out?" 

"In the New York World Almanac in the library." 

"You're a grand girl." 

"I'll be very glad to be an American and we'll go to 
America won't we, darling? I want to see Niagara 

"You're a fine girl." 

"There's something else I want to see but I can't 
remember it." 

"The stockyards?" 

"No. I can't remember it." 

"The Woolworth building?" 


"The Grand Canyon?" 

"No. But I'd like to see that." 

"What was it?" 

"The Golden Gate! That's what I want to see. 
Where is the Golden Gate?" 

"San Francisco." 

"Then let's go there. I want to see San Francisco 

"All right. We'll go there." 

"Now let's go up the mountain. Should we? Can 
we get the M. O. B. ?" 

"There's a train a little after five." 


"Let's get that." 

"All right. I'll drink one more beer first." 

When we went out to go up the street and climb the 
stairs to the station it was very cold. A cold wind was 
coming down the Rhone valley. There were lights in 
the shop windows and we climbed the steep stone stair- 
way to the upper street, then up another stairs to the 
station. The electric train was there waiting, all the 
lights on. There was a dial that showed when it left 
The clock hands pointed to ten minutes after five. I 
looked at the station clock. It was five minutes after. 
As we got on board I saw the motorman and conductor 
coming out of the station wine-shop. We sat down and 
opened the window. The train was electrically heated 
and stuffy but fresh cold air came in through the win- 

"Are you tired, Cat?" I asked. 

"No. I feel splendid." 

"It isn't a long ride." 

"I like the ride," she said. "Don't worry about me, 
darling. I feel fine." 

Snow did not come until three days before Christ- 
mas. We woke one morning and it was snowing. We 
stayed in bed with the fire roaring in the stove and 
watched the snow fall. Mrs. Guttingen took away the 
breakfast trays and put more wood in the stove. It 
was a big snow storm. She said it had started about 
midnight. I went to the window and looked out but 
could not see across the road. It was blowing and 
snowing wildly. I went back to bed and we lay and 

"I wish I could ski," Catherine said. "It's rotten not 
to be able to ski." 


"We'll get a bobsled and come down the road. 
That's no worse for you than riding in a car." 

"Won't it be rough?" 

"We can see." 

"I hope it won't be too rough." 

"After a while we'll take a walk in the snow." 

"Before lunch," Catherine said, "so we'll have a 
good appetite." 

"I'm always hungry." 

"So am I." 

We went out in the snow but it was drifted so that 
we could not walk far. I went ahead and made a trail 
down to the station but when we reached there we had 
gone far enough. The snow was blowing so we could 
hardly see and we went into the little inn by the station 
and swept each other off with a broom and sat on a 
bench and had vermouths. 

"It is a big storm," the barmaid said. 


"The snow is very late this year." 


"Could I eat a chocolate bar?" Catherine asked. "Or 
is it too close to lunch ? I'm always hungry." 

"Go on and eat one," I said. 

"I'll take one with filberts," Catherine said. 

"They are very good," the girl said, "I like them the 

"I'll have another vermouth," I said. 

When we came out to start back up the road our 
track was filled in by the snow. There were only faint 
indentations where the holes had been. The snow blew 
in our faces so we could hardly see. We brushed off 
and went in to have lunch. Mr. Guttingen served the 


"To-morrow there will be skiing/' he said. "Do 
you ski, Mr. Henry ?" 

"No. But I want to learn." 

"You will learn very easily. My boy will be here 
for Christmas and he will teach you." 

"That's fine. When does he come?" 

"To-morrow night." 

When we were sitting by the stove in the little room 
after lunch looking out the window at the snow coming 
down Catherine said, "Wouldn't you like to go on a 
trip somewhere by yourself, darling, and be with men 
and ski?" 

"No. Why should I?" 

"I should think sometimes you would want to see 
other people besides me." 

"Do you want to see other people?" 


"Neither do I." 

"I know. But you're different. I'm having a child 
and that makes me contented not to do anything. I 
know I'm awfully stupid now and I talk too much and 
I think you ought to get away so you won't be tired of 

"Do you want me to go away?" 

"No. I want you to stay." 

"That's what I'm going to do." 

"Come over here," she said. "I want to feel the 
bump on your head. It's a big bump." She ran her 
finger over it. "Darling, would you like to grow a 

"Would you like me to?" 

"It might be fun. I'd like to see you with a beard." 

"All right. I'll grow one. I'll start now this minute. 
It's a good idea. It will give me something to do." 


"Are you worried because you haven't anything to 

"No. I like it. I have a fine life. Don't you?" 

"I have a lovely life. But I was afraid because I'm 
big now that maybe I was a bore to you." 

"Oh, Cat. You don't know how crazy I am about 

"This way?" 

"Just the way you are. I have a fine time. Don't we 
have a good life?" 

"I do, but I thought maybe you were restless." 

"No. Sometimes I wonder about the front and 
about people I know but I don't worry. I don't think 
about anything much." 

"Who do you wonder about?" 

"About Rinaldi and the priest and lots of people I 
know. But I don't think about them much. I don't 
want to think about the war. I'm through with it." 

"What are you thinking about now?" 


"Yes you were. Tell me." 

"I was wondering whether Rinaldi had the syphilis." 

"Was that all?" 


"Has he the syphilis?" 

"I don't know." 

"I'm glad you haven't. Did you ever have anything 
like that?" 

"I had gonorrhea." 

"I don't want to hear about it. Was it very painful, 


"I wish I'd had it." 


"No you don't" 

"I do. I wish Fd had it to be like you. I wish Fd 
stayed with all your girls so I could make fun of them 
to you." 

"That's a pretty picture." 

"It's not a pretty picture you having gonorrhea." 

"I know it. Look at it snow now." 

"I'd rather look at you. Darling, why don't you let 
your hair grow?" 

"How grow?" 

"Just grow a little longer." 

"It's long enough now." 

"No, let it grow a little longer and I could cut mine 
and we'd be just alike only one of us blonde and one 
of us dark." 

"I wouldn't let you cut yours." 

"It would be fun. I'm tired of it. It's an awful 
nuisance in the bed at night." 

"I like it." 

"Wouldn't you like it short?" 

"I might. I like it the way it is." 

"It might be nice short. Then we'd both be alike. 
Oh, darling, I want you so much I want to be you too." 

"You are. We're the same one." 

"I know it. At night we are." 

"The nights are grand." 

"I want us to be all mixed up. I don't want you to 
go away. I just said that. You go if you want to. 
But hurry right back. Why, darling, I don't live at all 
when Fm not with you." 

"I won't ever go away," I said. "I'm no good when 
you're not there. I haven't any life at all any more." 

"I want you to have a life. I want you to have a fine 
life. But we'll have it together, won't we?" 


"And now do you want me to stop growing my 
beard or let it go on?" 

"Go on. Grow it. It will be exciting. Maybe it 
will be done for New Year's." 

"Now do you want to play chess?" 

"I'd rather play with you." 

"No. Let's play chess." 

"And afterward we'll play?" 


"All right." 

I got out the chess-board and arranged the pieces. 
It was still snowing hard outside. 

One time in the night I woke up and knew that 
Catherine was awake too. The moon was shining in 
the window and made shadows on the bed from the 
bars on the window-panes. 

"Are you awake, sweetheart?" 

"Yes. Can't you sleep?" 

"I just woke up thinking about how I was nearly 
crazy when I first met you. Do you remember?" 

"You were just a little crazy." 

"I'm never that way any more. I'm grand now. 
You say grand so sweetly. Say grand." 


"Oh, you're sweet. And I'm not crazy now. I'm 
just very, very, very happy." 

"Go on to sleep," I said. 

"All right. Let's go to sleep at exactly the same 

"All right." 

But we did not. I was awake for quite a long time 
thinking about things and watching Catherine sleeping, 
the moonlight on her face. Then I went to sleep, too. 


By the middle of January I had a beard and the 
winter had settled into bright cold days and hard cold 
nights. We could walk on the roads again. The snow 
was packed hard and smooth by the hay-sleds and wood- 
sledges and the logs that were hauled down the moun- 
tain. The snow lay over all the country, down almost 
to Montreux. The mountains on the other side of the 
lake were all white and the plain of the Rhone valley 
was covered. We took long walks on the other side of 
the mountain to the Bains de l'Alliaz. Catherine wore 
hobnailed boots and a cape and carried a stick with a 
sharp steel point. She did not look big with the cape 
and we would not walk too fast but stopped and sat 
on logs by the roadside to rest when she was tired. 

There was an inn in the trees at the Bains de l'Alliaz 
where the woodcutters stopped to drink, and we sat 
inside warmed by the stove and drank hot red wine 
with spices and lemon in it. They called it gliihwein and 
it was a good thing to warm you and to celebrate with. 
The inn was dark and smoky inside and afterward 
when you went out the cold air came sharply into your 
lungs and numbed the edge of your nose as you in- 
haled. We looked back at the inn with light coming 
from the windows and the woodcutters' horses stamp- 
ing and jerking their heads outside to keep warm. 
There was frost on the hairs of their muzzles and their 
breathing made plumes of frost in the air. Going up 
the road toward home the road was smooth and slip- 
pery for a while and the ice orange from the horses 
until the wood-hauling track turned off. Then the road 



was clean-packed snow and led through the woods, and 
twice coming home in the evening, we saw foxes. 

It was a fine country and every time that we went 
out it was fun. 

"You have a splendid beard now," Catherine said. 
"It looks just like the woodcutters'. Did you see the 
man with the tiny gold ear-rings?" 

"He's a chamois hunter," I said. "They wear them 
because they say it makes them hear better." 

"Really? I don't believe it. I think they wear them 
to show they are chamois hunters. Are there chamois 
near here?" 

"Yes, beyond the Dent de Jaman." 

"It was fun seeing the fox." 

"When he sleeps he wraps that tail around him to 
keep warm." 

"It must be a lovely feeling." 

"I always wanted to have a tail like that. Wouldn't 
it be fun if we had brushes like a fox?" 

"It might be very difficult dressing." 

"We'd have clothes made, or live in a country where 
it wouldn't make any difference." 

"We live in a country where nothing makes any dif- 
ference. Isn't it grand how we never see any one? 
You don't want to see people do you, darling?" 


"Should we sit here just a minute? I'm a little bit 

We sat close together on the logs. Ahead the road 
went down through the forest. 

"She won't come between us, will she? The little 

"No. We won't let her." 

"How are we for money?" 


"We have plenty. They honored the last sight 

"Won't your family try and get hold of you now 
they know you're in Switzerland?" 

"Probably. I'll write them something." 

"Haven't you written them?" 

"No. Only the sight draft." 

"Thank God I'm not your family." 

"I'll send them a cable." 

"Don't you care anything about them?" 

"I did, but we quarrelled so much it wore itself out." 

"I think I'd like them. I'd probably like them very 

"Let's not talk about them or I'll start to worry 
about them." After a while I said, "Let's go on if 
you're rested." 

"I'm rested." 

We went on down the road. It was dark now and 
the snow squeaked under our boots. The night was dry 
and cold and very clear. 

"I love your beard," Catherine said. "It's a great 
success. It looks so stiff and fierce and it's very soft 
and a great pleasure." 

"Do you like it better than without?" 

"I think so. You know, darling, I'm not going to cut 
my hair now until after young Catherine's born. I 
look too big and matronly now. But after she's born 
and I'm thin again I'm going to cut it and then I'll 
be a fine new and different girl for you. We'll go to- 
gether and get it cut, or I'll go alone and come and 
surprise you." 

I did not say anything. 

"You won't say I can't, will you?" 

"No. I think it would be exciting." 


"Oh, you're so sweet. And maybe I'd look lovely, 
darling, and be so thin and exciting to you and you'll 
fall in love with me all over again/' 

"Hell," I said, "I love you enough now. What do 
you want to do? Ruin me?" 

"Yes. I want to ruin you." 

"Good," I said, "that's what I want too." 


We had a fine life. We lived through the months of 
January and February and the winter was very fine 
and we were very happy. There had been short thaws 
when the wind blew warm and the snow softened and 
the air felt like Spring, but always the clear hard cold 
had come again and the winter had returned. In 
March came the first break in the winter. In the night 
it started raining. It rained on all morning and turned 
the snow to slush and made the mountain-side dismal. 
There were clouds over the lake and over the valley. 
It was raining high up the mountain. Catherine wore 
heavy overshoes and I wore Mr. Guttingen's rubber- 
boots and we walked to the station under an umbrella, 
through the slush and the running water that was 
washing the ice of the roads bare, to stop at the pub 
before lunch for a vermouth. Outside we could hear 
the rain. 

"Do you think we ought to move into town?" 
"What do you think?" Catherine asked. 
"If the winter is over and the rain keeps up it won't 
be fun up here. How long is it before young Cath- 
erine ?" 

"About a month. Perhaps a little more." 
"We might go down and stay in Montreux." 
"Why don't we go to Lausanne? That's where the 
hospital is." 

"All right. But I thought maybe that was too big a 

"We can be as much alone in a bigger town and 
Lausanne might be nice." 



"When should we go?" 

"I don't care. Whenever you want, darling. I don't 
want to leave here if you don't want." 

"Let's see how the weather turns out." 

It rained for three days. The snow was all gone now 
on the mountain-side below the station. The road was 
a torrent of muddy snow-water. It was too wet and 
slushy to go out. On the morning of the third day of 
rain we decided to go down into town. 

"That is all right, Mr. Henry," Guttingen said. 
"You do not have to give me any notice. I did not 
think you would want to stay now the bad weather is 

"We have to be near the hospital anyway on account 
of Madame," I said. 

"I understand," he said. "Will you come back some 
time and stay, with the little one?" 

"Yes, if you would have room." 

"In the Spring when it is nice you could come and 
enjoy it. We could put the little one and the nurse in 
the big room that is closed now and you and Madame 
could have your same room looking out over the lake." 

"I'll write about coming," I said. We packed and 
left on the train that went down after lunch. Mr. and 
Mrs. Guttingen came down to the station with us and 
he hauled our baggage down on a sled through the 
slush. They stood beside the station in the rain wav- 
ing good-by. 

"They were very sweet," Catherine said. 

"They were fine to us." 

We took the train to Lausanne from Montreux. 
Looking out the window toward where we had lived 
you could not see the mountains for the clouds. The 


train stopped in Vevey, then went on, passing the lake 
on one side and on the other the wet brown fields and 
the bare woods and the wet houses. We came into 
Lausanne and went into a medium-sized hotel to stay. 
It was still raining as we drove through the streets and 
into the carriage entrance of the hotel. The concierge 
with brass keys on his lapels, the elevator, the carpets 
on the floors, and the white washbowls with shining 
fixtures, the brass bed and the big comfortable bed- 
room all seemed very great luxury after the Guttin- 
gens. The windows of the room looked out on a wet 
garden with a wall topped by an iron fence. Across 
the street, which sloped steeply, was another hotel with 
a similar wall and garden. I looked out at the rain 
falling in the fountain of the garden. 

Catherine turned on all the lights and commenced 
unpacking. I ordered a whiskey and soda and lay on 
the bed and read the papers I had bought at the sta- 
tion. It was March, 191 8, and the German offensive 
had started in France. I drank the whiskey and soda 
and read while Catherine unpacked and moved around 
the room. 

"You know what I have to get, darling/' she said. 


"Baby clothes. There aren't many people reach my 
time without baby things." 

"You can buy them." 

"I know. That's what I'll do to-morrow. I'll find 
out what is necessary." 

"You ought to know. You were a nurse." 

"But so few of the soldiers had babies in the hos- 

"I did." 


She hit me with the pillow and spilled the whiskey 
and soda. 

"I'll order you another," she said. "I'm sorry I 
spilled it." 

"There wasn't much left. Come on over to the bed." 

"No. I have to try and make this room look like 

"Like what?" 

"Like our home." 

"Hang out the Allied flags." 

"Oh shut up." 

"Say it again." 

"Shut up." 

"You say it so cautiously," I said. "As though you 
didn't want to offend any one." 

"I don't." 

"Then come over to the bed." 

"All right." She came and sat on the bed. "I know 
I'm no fun for you, darling. I'm like a big flour-barrel." 

"No you're not. You're beautiful and you're sweet." 

"I'm just something very ungainly that you've mar- 

"No you're not. You're more beautiful all the time." 

"But I will be thin again, darling." 

"You're thin now." 

"You've been drinking." 

"Just whiskey and soda." 

"There's another one coming," she said. "And then 
should we order dinner up here ?" 

"That will be good." 

"Then we won't go out, will we? We'll just stay in 

"And play," I said. 

"I'll drink some wine," Catherine said. "It won't 


hurt me. Maybe we can get some of our old white 

"I know we can," I said. 'They'll have Italian wines 
at a hotel this size." 

The waiter knocked at the door. He brought the 
whiskey in a glass with ice and beside the glass on a 
tray a small bottle of soda. 

"Thank you," I said. "Put it down there. Will you 
please have dinner for two brought up here and two 
bottles of dry white capri in ice." 

"Do you wish to commence your dinner with soup?" 

"Do you want soup, Cat?" 


"Bring soup for one." 

"Thank you, sir." He went out and shut the door. 
I went back to the papers and the war in the papers and 
poured the soda slowly over the ice into the whiskey. I 
would have to tell them not to put ice in the whiskey. 
Let them bring the ice separately. That way you could 
tell how much whiskey there was and it would not sud- 
denly be too thin from the soda. I would get a bottle 
of whiskey and have them bring ice and soda. That 
was the sensible way. Good whiskey was very pleasant. 
It was one of the pleasant parts of life. 

"What are you thinking, darling?" 

"About whiskey." 

"What about whiskey?" 

"About how nice it is." 

Catherine made a face. "All right," she said. 

We stayed at that hotel three weeks. It was not 
bad; the dining-room was usually empty and very of- 
ten we ate in our room at night. We walked in the 


town and took the cogwheel railway down to Ouchy 
and walked beside the lake. The weather became quite 
warm and it was like Spring. We wished we were back 
in the mountains but the Spring weather lasted only a 
few days and then the cold rawness of the breaking-up 
of winter came again. 

Catherine bought the things she needed for the baby, 
up in the town. I went to a gymnasium in the arcade 
to box for exercise. I usually went up there in the 
morning while Catherine stayed late in bed. On the 
days of false Spring it was very nice, after boxing and 
taking a shower, to walk along the streets smelling the 
Spring in the air and stop at a cafe to sit and watch 
the people and read the paper and drink a vermouth; 
then go down to the hotel and have lunch with Cathe- 
rine. The professor at the boxing gymnasium wore 
mustaches and was very precise and jerky and went 
all to pieces if you started after him. But it was pleas- 
ant in the gym. There was good air and light and I 
worked quite hard, skipping rope, shadow-boxing, do- 
ing abdominal exercises lying on the floor in a patch 
of sunlight that came through the open window, and 
occasionally scaring the professor when we boxed. I 
could not shadow-box in front of the narrow long 
mirror at first because it looked so strange to see a 
man with a beard boxing. But finally I just thought 
it was funny. I wanted to take off the beard as soon 
as I started boxing but Catherine did not want me to. 

Sometimes Catherine and I went for rides out in 
the country in a carriage. It was nice to ride when 
the days were pleasant and we found two good places 
where we could ride out to eat. Catherine could not 
walk very far now and I loved to ride out along the 
country roads with her. When there was a good day 


we had a splendid time and we never had a bad time. 
We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us 
both a feeling as though something were hurrying us 
and we could not lose any time together. 


One morning I awoke about three o'clock hearing 
Catherine stirring in the bed. 

"Are you all right, Cat?" 

"I've been having some pains, darling." 


"No, not very." 

"If you have them at all regularly we'll go to the 

I was very sleepy and went back to sleep. A little 
while later I woke again. 

"Maybe you'd better call up the doctor," Catherine 
said. "I think maybe this is it." 

I went to the phone and called the doctor. "How 
often are the pains coming?" he asked. 

"How often are they coming, Cat?" 

"I should think every quarter of an hour." 

"You should go to the hospital then," the doctor 
said. "I will dress and go there right away myself." 

I hung up and called the garage near the station to 
send up a taxi. No one answered the phone for a long 
time. Then I finally got a man who promised to send 
up a taxi at once. Catherine was dressing. Her bag 
was all packed with the things she would need at the 
hospital and the baby things. Outside in the hall I 
rang for the elevator. There was no answer. I went 
downstairs. There was no one downstairs except the 
night-watchman. I brought the elevator up myself, 
put Catherine's bag in it, she stepped in and we went 
down. The night-watchman opened the door for us 
and we sat outside on the stone slabs beside the stairs 



down to the driveway and waited for the taxi. The 
night was clear and the stars were out. Catherine was 
very excited. 

"I'm so glad it's started," she said. "Now in a little 
while it will be all over." 

"You're a good brave girl." 

"I'm not afraid. I wish the taxi would come, 

We heard it coming up the street and saw its head- 
lights. It turned into the driveway and I helped 
Catherine in and the driver put the bag up in front. 

"Drive to the hospital," I said. 

We went out of the driveway and started up the hill. 

At the hospital we went in and I carried the bag. 
There was a woman at the desk who wrote down 
Catherine's name, age, address, relatives and religion, 
in a book. She said she had no religion and the wo- 
man drew a line in the space after that word. She 
gave her name as Catherine Henry. 

"I will take you up to your room," she said. We 
went up in an elevator. The woman stopped it and we 
stepped out and followed her down a hall. Catherine 
held tight to my arm. 

"This is the room," the woman said. "Will you 
please undress and get into bed ? Here is a nightgown 
for you to wear." 

"I have a nightgown," Catherine said. 

"It is better for you to wear this nightgown," the 
woman said. 

I went outside and sat on a chair in the hallway. 

"You can come in now," the woman said from the 
doorway. Catherine was lying in the narrow bed wear- 
ing a plain, square-cut nightgown that looked as though 
it were made of rough sheeting. She smiled at me. 


"I'm having fine pains now," she said. The woman 
was holding her wrist and timing the pains with a 

"That was a big one," Catherine said. I saw it on 
her face. 

"Where's the doctor?" I asked the woman. 

"He's lying down sleeping. He will be here when 
he is needed." 

"I must do something for Madame, now," the nurse 
said. "Would you please step out again?" 

I went out into the hall. It was a bare hall with two 
windows and closed doors all down the corridor. It 
smelled of hospital. I sat on the chair and looked at 
the floor and prayed for Catherine. 

"You can come in," the nurse said. I went in. 

"Hello, darling," Catherine said. 

"How is it?" 

"They are coming quite often now." Her face drew 
up. Then she smiled. 

"That was a real one. Do you want to put your 
hand on my back again, nurse?" 

"If it helps you," the nurse said. 

"You go away, darling," Catherine said. "Go out 
and get something to eat. I may do this for a long 
time the nurse says." 

"The first labor is usually protracted," the nurse 

"Please go out and get something to eat," Catherine 
said. "I'm fine, really." 

"I'll stay awhile," I said. 

The pains came quite regularly, then slackened off. 
Catherine was very excited. When the pains were bad 
she called them good ones. When they started to fall 
off she was disappointed and ashamed. 


"You go out, darling," she said. "I think you are 
just making me self-conscious." Her face tied up. 
"There. That was better. I so want to be a good wife 
and have this child without any foolishness. Please 
go and get some breakfast, darling, and then come 
back. I won't miss you. Nurse is splendid to me." 

"You have plenty of time for breakfast," the nurse 

"I'll go then. Good-by, sweet." 

"Good-by," Catherine said, "and have a fine break- 
fast for me too." 

"Where can I get breakfast?" I asked the nurse. 

"There's a cafe down the street at the square," she 
said. "It should be open now." 

Outside it was getting light. I walked down the 
empty street to the cafe. There was a light in the win- 
dow. I went in and stood at the zinc bar and an old 
man served me a glass of white wine and a brioche. 
The brioche was yesterday's. I dipped it in the wine 
and then drank a glass of coffee. 

"What do you do at this hour?" the old man asked. 

"My wife is in labor at the hospital." 

"So. I wish you good luck." 

"Give me another glass of wine." 

He poured it from the bottle slopping it over a little 
so some ran down on the zinc. I drank this glass, paid 
and went out. Outside along the street were the refuse 
cans from the houses waiting for the collector. A dog 
was nosing at one of the cans. 

"What do you want?" I asked and looked in the can 
to see if there was anything I could pull out for him; 
there was nothing on top but coffee-grounds, dust and 
some dead flowers. 

"There isn't anything, dog," I said. The dog crossed 


the street. I went up the stairs in the hospital to the 
floor Catherine was on and down the hall to her room. 
I knocked on the door. There was no answer. I opened 
the door; the room was empty, except for Catherine's 
bag on a chair and her dressing-gown hanging on a 
hook on the wall I went out and down the hall, look- 
ing for somebody. I found a nurse. 

"Where is Madame Henry ?" 

"A lady has just gone to the delivery room." 

"Where is it?" 

"I will show you." 

She took me down to the end of the hall. The door 
of the room was partly open. I could see Catherine 
lying on a table, covered by a sheet. The nurse was on 
one side and the doctor stood on the other side of the 
table beside some cylinders. The doctor held a rubber 
mask attached to a tube in one hand. 

"I will give you a gown and you can go in," the 
nurse said. "Come in here, please." 

She put a white gown on me and pinned it at the 
neck in back with a safety pin. 

"Now you can go in," she said. I went into the room. 

"Hello, darling," Catherine said in a strained voice. 
"I'm not doing much." 

"You are Mr. Henry?" the doctor asked. 

"Yes. How is everything going, doctor?" 

"Things are going very well," the doctor said. "We 
came in here where it is easy to give gas for the pains." 

"I want it now," Catherine said. The doctor placed 
the rubber mask over her face and turned a dial and I 
watched Catherine breathing deeply and rapidly. Then 
she pushed the mask away. The doctor shut off the 

"That wasn't a very big one. I had a very big one 


a while ago. The doctor made me go clear out, didn't 
you, doctor ?" Her voice was strange. It rose on the 
word doctor. 

The doctor smiled. 

"I want it again," Catherine said. She held the rub- 
ber tight to her face and breathed fast. I heard her 
moaning a little. Then she pulled the mask away and 

"That was a big one," she said. "That was a very 
big one. Don't you worry, darling. You go away. Go 
have another breakfast." 

"I'D stay," I said. 

We had gone to the hospital about three o'clock in the 
morning. At noon Catherine was still in the delivery 
room. The pains had slackened again. She looked very 
tired and worn now but she was still cheerful. 

"I'm not any good, darling," she said. "I'm so sorry. 
I thought I would do it very easily. Now — there's 
one — " she reached out her hand for the mask and held 
it over her face. The doctor moved the dial and 
watched her. In a little while it was over. 

"It wasn't much," Catherine said. She smiled. "I'm 
a fool about the gas. It's wonderful." 

"We'll get some for the home," I said. 

"There one comes" Catherine said quickly. The doc- 
tor turned the dial and looked at his watch. 

"What is the interval now?" I asked. 

"About a minute." 

"Don't you want lunch?" 

"I will have something pretty soon," he said. 

"You must have something to eat, doctor," Cathe- 
rine said. "I'm so sorry I go on so long. Couldn't my 
husband give me the gas?" 


"If you wish," the doctor said. "You turn it to the 
numeral two." 

"I see," I said. There was a marker on a dial that 
turned with a handle. 

"1 want it now/' Catherine said. She held the mask 
tight to her face. I turned the dial to number two and 
when Catherine put down the mask I turned it off. It 
was very good of the doctor to let me do something. 

"Did you do it, darling?" Catherine asked. She 
stroked my wrist. 


"You're so lovely." She was a little drunk from 
the gas. 

"I will eat from a tray in the next room," the doc- 
tor said. "You can call me any moment." While the 
time passed I watched him eat, then, after a while, I 
saw that he was lying down and smoking, a cigarette. 
Catherine was getting very tired. 

"Do you think I'll ever have this baby?" she asked. 

"Yes, of course you will." 

"I try as hard as I can. I push down but it goes 
away. There it comes. Give it to me." 

At two o'clock I went out and had lunch. There 
were a few men in the cafe sitting with coffee and 
glasses of kirsch or marc on the tables. I sat down at 
a table. "Can I eat?" I asked the waiter. 

"It is past time for lunch." 

"Isn't there anything for all hours?" 

"You can have choucroute!' 

"Give me choucroute and beer." 

"A demi or a bock?" 

"A light demi." 

The waiter brought a dish of sauerkraut with a slice 


of ham over the top and a sausage buried in the hot 
wine-soaked cabbage. I ate it and drank the beer. I was 
very hungry. I watched the people at the tables in the 
cafe. At one table they were playing cards. Two men 
at the table next me were talking and smoking. The 
cafe was full of smoke. The zinc bar, where I had 
breakfasted, had three people behind it now; the old 
man, a plump woman in a black dress who sat behind 
a counter and kept track of everything served to the 
tables, and a boy in an apron. I wondered how many 
children the woman had and what it had been like. 

When I was through with the choucroute I went 
back to the hospital. The street was all clean now. 
There were no refuse cans out. The day was cloudy 
but the sun was trying to come through. I rode up- 
stairs in the elevator, stepped out and went down the 
hall to Catherine's room, where I had left my white 
gown. I put it on and pinned it in back at the neck. 
I looked in the glass and saw myself looking like a fake 
doctor with a beard. I went down the hall to the de- 
livery room. The door was closed and I knocked. No 
one answered so I turned the handle and went in. The 
doctor sat by Catherine. The nurse was doing some- 
thing at the other end of the room. 

"Here is your husband," the doctor said. 

"Oh, darling, I have the most wonderful doctor," 
Catherine said in a very strange voice. "He's been 
telling me the most wonderful story and when the pain 
came too badly he put me all the way out. He's won- 
derful. You're wonderful, doctor." 

"You're drunk," I said. 

"I know it," Catherine said. "But you shouldn't say 
it." Then "Give it to me. Give it to me/' She 
clutched hold of the mask and breathed short and deep, 


pantingly, making the respirator click. Then she gave 
a long sigh and the doctor reached with his left hand 
and lifted away the mask. 

"That was a very big one," Catherine said. Her voice 
was very strange. "I'm not going to die now, darling. 
I'm past where I was going to die. Aren't you glad?" 

"Don't you get in that place again." 

"I won't. I'm not afraid of it though. I won't die, 

"You will not do any such foolishness," the doctor 
said. "You would not die and leave your husband." 

"Oh, no. I won't die. I wouldn't die. It's silly to 
die. There it comes. Give it to me." 

After a while the doctor said, "You will go out, Mr. 
Henry, for a few moments and I will make an ex- 

"He wants to see how I am doing," Catherine said. 
"You can come back afterward, darling, can't he, doc- 

"Yes," said the doctor. "I will send word when he 
can come back." 

I went out the door and down the hall to the room 
where Catherine was to be after the baby came. I 
sat in a chair there ana looked at the room. I had the 
paper in my coat that I had bought when I went out 
for lunch and I read it. It was beginning to be dark 
outside and I turned the light on to read. After a while 
I stopped reading and turned off the light and watched 
it get dark outside. I wondered why the doctor did 
not send for me. Maybe it was better I was away. 
He probably wanted me away for a while. I looked 
at my watch. If he did not send for me in ten minutes 
I would go down anyway. 

Poor, poor dear Cat. And this was the price you 


paid for sleeping together. This was the end of the 
trap. This was what people got for loving each other. 
Thank God for gas, anyway. What must it have been 
like before there were anaesthetics? Once it started, 
they were in the mill-race. Catherine had a good time 
in the time of pregnancy. It wasn't bad. She was 
hardly ever sick. She was not awfully uncomfortable 
until toward the last. So now they got her in the end. 
You never got away with anything. Get away hell! 
It would have been the same if we had been married 
fifty times. And what if she should die? She won't 
die. People don't die in childbirth nowadays. That 
was what all husbands thought. Yes, but what if she 
should die? She won't die. She's just having a bad 
time. The initial labor is usually protracted. She's 
only having a bad time. Afterward we'd say what a 
bad time and Catherine would say it wasn't really so 
bad. But what if she should die? She can't die. Yes, 
but what if she should die? She can't, I tell you. Don't 
be a fool. It's just a bad time. It's just nature giv- 
ing her hell. It's only the first labor, which is almost 
always protracted. Yes, but what if she should die? 
She can't die. Why would she die? What reason is 
there for her to die? There's just a child that has to 
be born, the by-product of good nights in Milan. It 
makes trouble and is born and then you look after it 
and get fond of it maybe. But what if she should die? 
She won't die. But what if she should die? She 
won't. She's all right. But what if she should die? 
She can't die. But what if she should die? Hey, what 
about that? What if she should die? 

The doctor came into the room. 

"How does it go, doctor?" 

"It doesn't go," he said. 


"What do you mean?" 

"Just that. I made an examination — " He detailed 
the result of the examination. "Since then I've waited 
to see. But it doesn't go." 

"What do you advise?" 

"There are two things. Either a high forceps de- 
livery which can tear and be quite dangerous besides 
being possibly bad for the child, and a Caesarean." 

"What is the danger of a Caesarean?" What if she 
should die ! 

"It should be no greater than the danger of an or- 
dinary delivery." 

"Would you do it yourself?" 

"Yes. I would need possibly an hour to get things 
ready and to get the people I would need. Perhaps a 
little less." 

"What do you think?" 

"I would advise a Caesarean operation. If it were 
my wife I would do a Caesarean." 

"What are the after effects?" 

"There are none. There is only the scar." 

"What about infection?" ■ 

"The danger is not so great as in a high forceps de- 

"What if you just went on and did nothing?" 

"You would have to do something eventually. Mrs. 
Henry is already losing much of her strength. The 
sooner we operate now the safer." 

"Operate as soon as you can," I said. 

"I will go and give the instructions." 

I went into the delivery room. The nurse was with 
Catherine who lay on the table, big under the sheet, 
looking very pale and tired. 

"Did you tell him he could do it?" she asked. 



"Isn't that grand. Now it will be all over in an hour. 
I'm almost done, darling. I'm going all to pieces. 
Please give me that. It doesn't work. Oh, it doesn't 

"Breathe deeply." 

"I am. Oh, it doesn't work any more. It doesn't 

"Get another cylinder," I said to the nurse. 

"That is a new cylinder." 

"I'm just a fool, darling," Catherine said. "But it 
doesn't work any more." She began to cry. "Oh, I 
wanted so to have this baby and not make trouble, and 
now I'm all done and all gone to pieces and it doesn't 
work. Oh, darling, it doesn't work at all. I don't 
care if I die if it will only stop. Oh, please, darling, 
please make it stop. There it comes. Oh Oh Oh!" 
She breathed sobbingly in the mask. "It doesn't work. 
It doesn't work. It doesn't work. Don't mind me, 
darling. Please don't cry. Don't mind me. I'm just 
gone all to pieces. You poor sweet. I love you so and 
I'll be good again. I'll be good this time. Can't they 
give me something? If they could only give me some- 

"I'll make it work. I'll turn it all the way." 

"Give it to me now." 

I turned the dial all the way and as she breathed 
hard and deep her hand relaxed on the mask. I shut 
off the gas and lifted the mask. She came back from 
a long way away. 

"That was lovely, darling. Oh, you're so good to 

"You be brave, because I can't do that all the time. 
It might kill you." 


"I'm not brave any more, darling. I'm all broken. 
They've broken me. I know it now." 

" Everybody is that way." 

"But it's awful. They just keep it up till they break 

"In an hour it will be over." 

"Isn't that lovely? Darling, I won't die, will I?" 

"No. I promise you won't." 

"Because I don't want to die and leave you, but I 
get so tired of it and I feel I'm going to die." 

"Nonsense. Everybody feels that." 

"Sometimes I know I'm going to die." 

"You won't. You can't." 

"But what if I should?" 

"I won't let you." 

"Give it to me quick. Give it to meT 

Then afterward, "I won't die. I won't let myself 

"Of course you won't." 

"You'll stay with me?" 

"Not to watch it." 

"No, just to be there." 

"Sure. I'll be there all the time." 

"You're so good to me. There, give it to me. Give 
me some more. It's not working 7" 

I turned the dial to three and then four. I wished 
the doctor would come back. I was afraid of the num- 
bers above two. 

Finally a new doctor came in with two nurses and 
they lifted Catherine onto a wheeled stretcher and we 
started down the hall. The stretcher went rapidly down 
the hall and into the elevator where every one had to 
crowd against the wall to make room; then up, then 


an open door and out of the elevator and down the 
hall on rubber wheels to the operating room. I did 
not recognize the doctor with his cap and mask on. 
There was another doctor and more nurses. 

"They've got to give me something/' Catherine said. 
"They've got to give me something. Oh please, doc- 
tor, give me enough to do some good !" 

One of the doctors put a mask over her face and I 
looked through the door and saw the bright small am- 
phitheatre of the operating room. 

"You can go in the other door and sit up there," a 
nurse said to me. There were benches behind a rail 
that looked down on the white table and the lights. I 
looked at Catherine. The mask was over her face and 
she was quiet now. They wheeled the stretcher for- 
ward. I turned away and walked down the hall. Two 
nurses were hurrying toward the entrance to the gal- 

"It's a Caesarean," one said. "They're going to do a 

The other one laughed, "We're just in time. Aren't 
we lucky?" They went in the door that led to the 

Another nurse came along. She was hurrying too. 

"You go right in there. Go right in," she said. 

"I'm staying outside." 

She hurried in. I walked up and down the hall. I 
was afraid to go in. I looked out the window. It was 
dark but in the light from the window I could see it 
was raining. I went into a room at the far end of the 
hall and looked at the labels on bottles in a glass case. 
Then I came out and stood in the empty hall and 
watched the door of the operating room. 

A doctor came out followed by a nurse. He held 


something in his two hands that looked like a freshly 
skinned rabbit and hurried across the corridor with it 
and in through another door. I went down to the door 
he had gone into and found them in the room doing 
things to a new-born child. The doctor held him up for 
me to see. He held him by the heels and slapped him. 

"Is he all right ?" 

"He's magnificent. He'll weigh five kilos." 

I had no feeling for him. He did not seem to have 
anything to do with me. I felt no feeling of father- 

"Aren't you proud of your son?" the nurse asked. 
They were washing him and wrapping him in some- 
thing. I saw the little dark face and dark hand, but I 
did not see him move or hear him cry. The doctor was 
doing something to him again. He looked upset. 

"No," I said. "He nearly killed his mother." 

"It isn't the little darling's fault. Didn't you want 
a boy?" 

"No," I said. The doctor was busy with him. He 
held him up by the feet and slapped him. I did not 
wait to see it. I went out in the hall. I could go in 
now and see. I went in the door and a little way down 
the gallery. The nurses who were sitting at the rail 
motioned for me to come down where they were. I 
shook my head. I could see enough where I was. 

I thought Catherine was dead. She looked dead. 
Her face was gray, the part of it that I could see. 
Down below, under the light, the doctor was sewing 
up the great long, forcep-spread, thick-edged, wound. 
Another doctor in a mask gave the anaesthetic. Two 
nurses in masks handed things. It looked like a draw- 
ing of the Inquisition. I knew as I watched I could 
have watched it all, but I was glad I hadn't. I do not 


think I could have watched them cut, but I watched the 
wound closed into a high welted ridge with quick skil- 
ful-looking stitches like a cobbler's, and was glad. When 
the wound was closed I went out into the hall and 
walked up and down again. After a while the doctor 
came out. 

"How is she?" 

"She is all right. Did you watch?" 

He looked tired. 

"I saw you sew up. The incision looked very long." 

"You thought so?" 

"Yes. Will that scar flatten out?" 

"Oh, yes." 

After a while they brought out the wheeled stretcher 
and took it very rapidly down the hallway to the ele- 
vator. I went along beside it. Catherine was moan- 
ing. Downstairs they put her in the bed in her room. 
I sat in a chair at the foot of the bed. There was a 
nurse in the room. I got up and stood by the bed. It 
was dark in the room. Catherine put out her hand, 
"Hello, darling," she said. Her voice was very weak 
and tired. 

"Hello, you sweet." 

"What sort of baby was it?" 

"Sh — don't talk," the nurse said. 

"A boy. He's long and wide and dark." 

"Is he all right?" 

"Yes," I said. "He's fine." 

I saw the nurse look at me strangely. 

"I'm awfully tired," Catherine said. "And I hurt 
like hell. Are you all right, darling?" 

"I'm fine. Don't talk." 

"You were lovely to me. Oh, darling, I hurt dread- 
fully. What does he look like?" 


"He looks like a skinned rabbit with a puckered-up 
old-man's face." 

"You must go out," the nurse said. "Madame 
Henry must not talk." 

'Til be outside," I said. 

"Go and get something to eat" 

"No. I'll be outside." I kissed Catherine. She 
was very gray and weak and tired. 

"May I speak to you?" I said to the nurse. She 
came out in the hall with me. I walked a little way 
down the hall. 

"What's the matter with the baby?" I asked. 

"Didn't you know?" 


"He wasn't alive." 

"He was dead?" 

"They couldn't start him breathing. The cord was 
caught around his neck or something." 

"So he's dead." 

"Yes. It's such a shame. He was such a fine big 
boy. I thought you knew." 

"No," I said. "You better go back in with Ma- 

I sat down on the chair in front of a table where 
there were nurses' reports hung on clips at the side and 
looked out of the window. I could see nothing but 
the dark and the rain falling across the light from the 
window. So that was it. The baby was dead. That 
was why the doctor looked so tired. But why had they 
acted the way they did in the room with him? They 
supposed he would come around and start breathing 
probably. I had no religion but I knew he ought to 
have been baptized. But what if he never breathed at 


all. He hadn't. He had never been alive. Except in 
Catherine. I'd felt him kick there often enough. But 
I hadn't for a week. Maybe he was choked all the time. 
Poor little kid. I wished the hell I'd been choked like 
that. No I didn't. Still there would not be all this dying 
to go through. Now Catherine would die. That was 
what you did. You died. You did not know what it 
was about. You never had time to learn. They threw 
you in and told you the rules and the first time they 
caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed 
you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphi- 
lis like Rinaldo. But they killed you in the end. You 
could count on that. Stay around and they would kill 

Once in camp I put a log on top of the fire and it 
was full of ants. As it commenced to burn, the ants 
swarmed out and went first toward the centre where 
the fire was ; then turned back and ran toward the end. 
When there were enough on the end they fell off into 
the fire. Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, 
and went off not knowing where they were going. But 
most of them went toward the fire and then back to- 
ward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally 
fell off into the fire. I remember thinking at the time 
that it was the end of the world and a splendid chance 
to be a messiah and lift the log off the fire and throw 
it out where the ants could get off onto the ground. 
But I did not do anything but throw a tin cup of water 
on the log, so that I would have the cup empty to put 
whiskey in before I added water to it. I think the cup 
of water on the burning log only steamed the ants. 

So now I sat out in the hall and waited to hear how 
Catherine was. The nurse did not come out, so after a 
while I went to the door and opened it very softly and 


looked in. I could not see at first because there was a 
bright light in the hall and it was dark in the room. 
Then I saw the nurse sitting by the bed and Cathe- 
rine's head on a pillow, and she all flat under the sheet. 
The nurse put her finger to her lips, then stood up and 
came to the door. 

"How is she?" I asked. 

"She's all right," the nurse said. "You should go 
and have your supper and then come back if you wish." 

I went down the hall and then down the stairs and 
out the door of the hospital and down the dark street 
in the rain to the cafe. It was brightly lighted inside 
and there were many people at the tables. I did not 
see a place to sit, and a waiter came up to me and took 
my wet coat and hat and showed me a place at a table 
across from an elderly man who was drinking beer and 
reading the evening paper. I sat down and asked the 
waiter what the plat du jour was. 

"Veal stew — but it is finished." 

"What can I have to eat?" 

"Ham and eggs, eggs with cheese, or choucroute" 

"I had choucroute this noon," I said. 

"That's true," he said. "That's true. You ate chou- 
croute this noon." He was a middle-aged man with a 
bald top to his head and his hair slicked over it. He 
had a kind face. 

"What do you want? Ham and eggs or eggs with 

"Ham and eggs," I said, "and beer." 

"A demi-blonde?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"I remembered," he said. "You took a demi-blonde 
this noon." 

I ate the ham and eggs and drank the beer. The ham 


and eggs were in a round dish — the ham underneath 
and the eggs on top. It was very hot and at the first 
mouthful I had to take a drink of beer to cool my 
mouth. I was hungry and I asked the waiter for an- 
other order. I drank several glasses of beer. I was 
not thinking at all but read the paper of the man op- 
posite me. It was about the break through on the Brit- 
ish front. When he realized I was reading the back of 
his paper he folded it over. I thought of asking the 
waiter for a paper, but I could not concentrate. It 
was hot in the cafe and the air was bad. Many of the 
people at the tables knew one another. There were sev- 
eral card games going on. The waiters were busy 
bringing drinks from the bar to the tables. Two men 
came in and could find no place to sit. They stood op- 
posite the table where I was. I ordered another beer. 
I was not ready to leave yet. It was too soon to go 
back to the hospital. I tried not to think and to be 
perfectly calm. The men stood around but no one was 
leaving, so they went out. I drank another beer. There 
was quite a pile of saucers now on the table in front of 
me. The man opposite me had taken off his spectacles, 
put them away in a case, folded his paper and put it 
in his pocket and now sat holding his liqueur glass and 
looking out at the room. Suddenly I knew I had to 
get back. I called the waiter, paid the reckoning, got 
into my coat, put on my hat and started out the door. 
I walked through the rain up to the hospital. 

Upstairs I met the nurse coming down the hall. 

"I just called you at the hotel," she said. Some- 
thing dropped inside me. 

"What is wrong?" 

"Mrs. Henry has had a hemorrhage." 

"Can I go in?" 


"No, not yet. The doctor is with her." 

"Is it dangerous?" 

"It is very dangerous." The nurse went into the 
room and shut the door. I sat outside in the hall. 
Everything was gone inside of me. I did not think. 
I could not think. I knew she was going to die and 
I prayed that she would not. Don't let her die. Oh, 
God, please don't let her die. I'll do anything for you 
if you won't let her die. Please, please, please, dear 
God, don't let her die. Dear God, don't let her die. 
Please, please, please don't let her die. God please 
make her not die. I'll do anything you say if you don't 
let her die. You took the baby but don't let her die. 
That was all right but don't let her die. Please, please, 
dear God, don't let her die. 

The nurse opened the door and motioned with her 
finger for me to come. I followed her into the room. 
Catherine did not look up when I came in. I went over 
to the side of the bed. The doctor was standing by the 
bed on the opposite side. Catherine looked at me and 
smiled. I bent down over the bed and started to cry. 

"Poor darling," Catherine said very softly. She 
looked gray. 

"You're all right, Cat," I said. "You're going to be 
all right." 

"I'm going to die," she said; then waited and said, 
"I hate it." 

I took her hand. 

"Don't touch me," she said. I let go of her hand. 
She smiled. "Poor darling. You touch me all you 

"You'll be all right, Cat. I know you'll be all right." 

"I meant to write you a letter to have if anything 
happened, but I didn't do it." 


"Do you want me to get a priest or any one to come 
and see you?" 

"Just you," she said. Then a little later, "I'm not 
afraid. I just hate it." 

"You must not talk so much," the doctor said. 

"All right," Catherine said. 

"Do you want me to do anything, Cat? Can I get 
you anything?" 

Catherine smiled, "No." Then a little later, "You 
won't do our things with another girl, or say the same 
things, will you?" 


"I want you to have girls, though." 

"I don't want them." 

"You are talking too much," the doctor said. "Mr. 
Henry must go out. He can come back again later. 
You are not going to die. You must not be silly." 

"All right," Catherine said. "I'll come and stay with 
you nights," she said. It was very hard for her to 

"Please go out of the room," the doctor said. "You 
cannot talk." Catherine winked at me, her face gray. 
"I'll be right outside," I said. 

"Don't worry, darling," Catherine said. "I'm not a 
bit afraid. It's just a dirty trick." 

"You dear, brave sweet." 

I waited outside in the hall. I waited a long time. 
The nurse came to the door and came over to me. "I'm 
afraid Mrs. Henry is very ill," she said. "I'm afraid 
for her." 

"Is she dead?" 

"No, but she is unconscious." 

It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. 
They couldn't stop it. I went into the room and stayed 


with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious 
all the time, and it did not take her very long to die. 

Outside the room, in the hall, I spoke to the doctor, 
"is there anything I can do to-night ?" 

"No. There is nothing to do. Can I take you to your 

"No, thank you. I am going to stay here a while.' ' 

"I know there is nothing to say. I cannot tell 
you " 

"No," I said. "There's nothing to say." 

"Good-night," he said. "I cannot take you to your 

"No, thank you." 

"It was the only thing to do," he said. "The opera- 
tion proved " 

"I do not want to talk about it," I said. 

"I would like to take you to your hotel." 

"No, thank you." 

He went down the hall. I went to the door of the 

"You can't come in now," one of the nurses said. 

"Yes I can," I said. 

"You can't come in yet." 

"You get out," I said. "The other one too." 

But after I had got them out and shut the door and 
turned off the light it wasn't any good. It was like say- 
ing good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and 
left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain. 

The End